Philosophy, Science and Practice of
Table of Contents
Maxalding physical principles11
What is Maxalding?11
Physical principles of Maxalding12
Psychological principles and Maxick's training secrets27
The discovery of the "mind over matter" ability27
The control of the mind over the body28
The importance of individual training55
The key to success, absence of boredom57
The mental way to super MC58
Maxalding as a mental attitude and lifestyle59
Spiritual benefits of Maxalding61
Muscle Control techniques and exercises64
Voluntary muscle contraction64
Voluntary muscle relaxation69
General methods to attain MC70
The secret for super strength development in Maxalding72
The way to super control, analytical muscle control (AMC) 82
General rules for MC success84
The key to real progress in MC. Instinctive training86
MC of the muscles of the face87
Frontalis and orbicularis oculi (MC-oculi)87
Orbicularis oris (MC-oris)87
Tongue (MC-tongue) 88
1.1. MC of the muscles of the neck 88
1.1.1. Sternohyiod, omohyoid and thyroidhyoid (MC-hyoid) 88
1.1.2. Sternocleidomastoid (MC-sterno) 89
1.1.3. Splenius capitus, levator scapulae, posterior scalene, middle scalene (MC-scalene) 89
1.2. MC of the muscles of the back 90
3.10.1. Preliminary ISR exercises for shoulder blades and back mobility.90
22.214.171.124. Loosening of shoulder blades with arms stretched over head (MC-scapula-ISR-1) 90
126.96.36.199. Loosening of shoulder blades with arms behind the head (MC- scapula-ISR-2) 91
188.8.131.52. Dynamic mobilization of shoulder blades with DSR (MC- scapula-DSR) 91
184.108.40.206. Reinforcement of upper back muscles (MC-back-ISR) 91
220.127.116.11. Additional loosening of shoulder blades for rigid joints (MC- scapula-ISR-3) 92
18.104.22.168. Combined shoulder blades loosening and bending for lateral back flexibility and reinforcement (MC-back-AMR+ISR) 92
22.214.171.124. Reinforcement of erector spinae muscles (MC-spinae-ISR)..92
126.96.36.199. Isometric and dynamic pull-ups or chin-ups (BL-pullup) 92
3.10.2. Preliminary AMR exercises for back reinforcement and flexibility.92
188.8.131.52. AMR pull-ups (MC-pullup-AMR) 93
184.108.40.206. AMR rowing (MC-rowing-AMR) 93
220.127.116.11. Back forward bending (MC-back-AMR-1) 93
18.104.22.168. Back backwards bending (MC-back-AMR-2) 93
22.214.171.124. Back lateral bending (MC-back-AMR-3) 94
3.10.3. Preliminary back exercises with LD 94
126.96.36.199. Back bending (LD-back-1) 94
188.8.131.52. Back twisting (LD-back-2) 94
184.108.40.206. Several lifts which involve the back muscles 95
3.10.4. LD technique with Aston's anti dumbbell 95
3.10.5. Preliminary BL back exercises 95
3.10.6. Isolation of back muscles 96
220.127.116.11. Trapezius (MC-trapezius) 96
18.104.22.168. Voluntary expansion of shoulder blades (MC-scapula- expansion) 97
22.214.171.124. Voluntary abduction of shoulder blades (MC-scapula- abduction) 98
126.96.36.199. Latissimus dorsi (MC-lats) 98
188.8.131.52. Erector spinae (MC-spinae) 100
3.11. MC of the muscles of the shoulder 102
3.11.1. Preliminary ISR and DSR exercises 102
184.108.40.206. DSR on elbow (MC-shoulder-DSR-1) 102
220.127.116.11. DSR shoulder shrugging (MC-shoulder-DSR-2) 102
18.104.22.168. DSR one handed swing (MC-shoulder-DSR-3) 102
22.214.171.124. DSR single handed jerk (MC-shoulder-DSR-4) 103
3.11.2. Preliminary AMR exercises 103
3.11.3. Preliminary BL exercises 103
3.11.4. Preliminary LD exercises 105
3.11.5. Isolation of the muscles of the shoulder 105
126.96.36.199. Deltoid (MC-deltoid) 105
188.8.131.52. Infraspinatus, teres major and teres minor (MC-teres) 106
184.108.40.206. Advanced controls for the muscles of the shoulder (MC- deltoid-AMC) 106 220.127.116.11. Mastering DMC (dynamic muscle control) for the shoulders
3.12. Differences between DMC, AMR and SMCR. Advantages and shortcomings of each technique 107
3.13. Can you develop great strength with MC only? 111
3.14. Advanced methods for increasing strength and beating sticking points . 112
3.15. MC of the muscles of the thorax 116
3.15.1. Preliminary ISR and DSR exercises 116
18.104.22.168. ISR for serratus magnus (MC-serratus-ISR) 117
22.214.171.124. DSR for the serratus (MC-serratus-DSR) 117
126.96.36.199. ISR for the intercostals (MC-intercostal-ISR) 117
188.8.131.52. DSR for the intercostals (MC-intercostal-DSR) 117
184.108.40.206. Combined DSR + AMR exercise for back and intercostals development 118
220.127.116.11. DSR lifting 118
18.104.22.168. ISR for the pectorals (MC-pectoral-ISR) 118
22.214.171.124. DSR exercises for the pectorals (MC-pectoral-DSR) 119
126.96.36.199. Pectoral stretching (MC-pectoral-stretch) 119
3.15.2. AMR exercises for the thorax 120
3.15.3. BL exercises for the thorax 120
188.8.131.52. Push ups 120
184.108.40.206. Raising from prone position 122
3.16. Isolation of the muscles of the thorax 122
3.16.1. Serratus magnus (MC-serratus) 122
3.16.2. Intercostals (MC-intercostal) 123
3.16.3. Pectorals (MC-pectoral) 125
3.17. Breathing techniques 126
3.17.1. Slow MC breathing (SMCB) 136
3.17.2. Conclusions 137
3.18. The importance of abdominal controls 138
3.19. Preliminary abdominal exercises 139
3.19.1. Breathing exercises for the abdominals (MC-abdominal-breath)
3.19.2. Factors that have influence on abdominal controls 141
3.19.3. ISR exercises 142
3.19.4. AMR exercises 142
3.19.5. BL exercises 143
3.20. Isolation of the abdominal muscles 146
3.20.1. Abdominal depression ("vacuum") 146
3.20.2. Abdominal vacuum with breathing 146
3.20.3. Central abdominal (rectus abdominis) isolation with hand pressure (MC-abdominal-central-hand) 147
3.20.4. One side lateral abdominal isolation with hand pressure (MC- abdominal-side-hand) 148
3.20.5. True voluntary abdominal isolations (without hand pressure)....148
220.127.116.11. One side lateral abdominal isolation 150
18.104.22.168. Horizontal abdominal isolations 150
22.214.171.124. External obliques isolation 152
3.20.6. Extreme abdominal controls 153
126.96.36.199. Analytical muscle control (AMC) of the rectus abdominis....154
188.8.131.52. Abdominal tendon isolation 155
3.20.7. Pelvic muscles MC 157
3.21. Arm MC 158
3.22. Preliminary exercises for the upper arm 158
3.22.1. ISR and DSR exercises for the biceps 158
3.22.2. BL exercises for the biceps 163
3.23. Muscle control of the biceps 164
3.23.1. Control of the biceps in its most contracted position (MC-biceps-1). 164
184.108.40.206. Transversal analytical control (TAMC) of the biceps in its shortest position with the wrist at 0° (MC-biceps-1-TAMC-0) 164
220.127.116.11. Transversal analytical control (TAMC) of the biceps in its shortest position with the wrist at 90° (MC-biceps-1-TAMC-90) 164
18.104.22.168. Transversal analytical control (TAMC) of the biceps in its shortest position with the wrist at 180° (MC-biceps-1-TAMC-180)....165
3.23.2. Control of the biceps in its middle position (MC-biceps-2) 165
22.214.171.124. TAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 0° (MC-biceps-2-TAMC-0) 165
126.96.36.199. TAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 90° (MC-biceps-2-TAMC-90) 165
188.8.131.52. TAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 180° (MC-biceps-2-TAMC-180) 166
184.108.40.206. Longitudinal AMC (LAMC) of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 0° (MC-biceps-2-LAMC-0) 166
220.127.116.11. LAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 90° (MC-biceps-2-LAMC-90) 167
18.104.22.168. LAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 180° (MC-biceps-2-LAMC-180) 167
22.214.171.124. Tendon isolation with the biceps in its middle position and the wrist at 0° 168
3.23.3. Control of the biceps in its stretched position (MC-biceps-3) 168
1.16. MC of the triceps 169
1.16.1. Control of the triceps in its stretched position (MC-triceps-1) 169
1.16.2. Control of the triceps in its middle position (MC-triceps-2) 170
1.16.3. Control of the triceps with the arm completely stretched (MC- triceps-3) 171
126.96.36.199. TAMC of the triceps with the wrist at 0° (MC-triceps-TAMC-0). 171
188.8.131.52. TAMC of the triceps with the wrist at 90° (MC-triceps-3- TAMC-90) 171
3.25. MC of the brachialis muscle (MC-brachialis) 172
3.26. MC of the brachioradialis muscle (MC-brachioradialis) 173
3.27. MC of the forearm muscles (MC-forearm) 173
3.27.1. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° upwards and pointing to the front (MC-forearm-up-90-0) 174
3.27.2. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° upwards and pointing to the side (MC-forearm-up-90-90) 174
3.27.3. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° backwards and pointing to the side (MC-forearm-back-90-90) 174
3.27.4. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° backwards and pointing backwards (MC-forearm-back-90-0) 175
3.27.5. Forearm MC with the wrist at 0° parallel to the body line and the fist rotated to the front (MC-forearm-0-front) 175
3.27.6. Forearm MC with the wrist at 0° parallel to the body line and the fist rotated backwards (MC-forearm-0-back) 175
3.27.7. Forearm MC with the wrist perpendicular to the body line and the fist rotated to the internal side (MC-forearm-90-internal) 176
3.27.8. Forearm MC with the wrist perpendicular to the body line and the fist rotated to the external side (MC-forearm-90-external) 176
3.27.9. Forearm MC with the arm in a neutral position (MC-forearm- neutral) 176
3.28. Finger MC (MC-finger) 176
3.28.1. Finger squeezing (MC-finger-1) 177
3.28.2. Finger stretching (MC-finger-2) 177
3.29. Preliminary exercises for the legs 177
3.30. MC of the muscles of the leg 179
3.30.1. Gluteal MC (gluteus maximus) (MC-gluteal) 179
3.30.2. Front upper leg MC 180
Quadriceps contraction with straight legs and feet to the front (MC-quadriceps-1) 180
Quadriceps contraction with straight legs and feet rotated outwards (MC-quadriceps-2) 180
184.108.40.206. Quadriceps contraction with one advanced straight leg (MC-
220.127.116.11. Upper leg contraction in a stretched position (adductors, gracilis, iliopsoas, pectineus) (MC-leg-upper) 181
3.30.3. Rear upper leg MC (hamstrings) (MC-hamstrings) 181
18.104.22.168. MC of the hamstrings in a stretched position (MC-hamstrings- 1) 181
22.214.171.124. MC of the muscles of the hamstrings in a contracted position (MC-hamstrings-2) 182
3.30.4. Front lower leg MC (tibialis anterior) (MC-tibialis) 182
3.30.5. Calf MC (gastrocnemius, soleus) (MC-gastrocnemius) 182
3.30.6. Toe MC 183
4. Nutrition and diet 184
4.1. Specific suggestions on building muscular tissue 195
4.2. Specific suggestions on weight-reduction 196
5. Extreme and internal MC techniques 198
5.1. Advanced breathing techniques 198
5.1.1. Maxick's virtual breathing (MVB) 199
5.1.2. Slow muscle controlled breathing (SMCB) combined with MVB...200
5.1.3. Controlled breath holding (CBH) 202
5.1.4. Enhancement of the aerobic performance by means of MC breathing techniques 202
5.2. Deep concentration techniques 203
5.2.1. Synchronized exhalation-contraction method (SECM) 203
5.2.2. High precision tension gauge by means of just under vibrating threshold contraction (VTC) 204
5.2.3. Over shaking extreme muscle contraction (OSMC) 205
5.3. Progressive relaxation techniques 206
5.3.1. Beginner's technique (isomeric induced relaxation against the bed).. 206
5.3.2. Post MC induced relaxation 207
5.3.3. Thermal induced relaxation 208
5.3.4. SMCB induced relaxation 208
5.3.5. Voluntary relaxation techniques (VRT) 209
5.4. Body energy transference techniques 211
5.4.1. Sequential contraction 211
126.96.36.199. Muscle controlled self massage 212
188.8.131.52. Cyclic raising-lowering complete body control 212
184.108.40.206. Assisted circulation 213
5.4.2. Focused relaxation 214
5.5. Multiple and combined controls 214
5.5.1. Maxick's full contraction test 214
5.5.2. Static poses 215
5.5.3. Posture reinforcement and virtual training 215
5.5.4. Muscle dancing 215
5.6. Dynamic muscle control 215
5.7. Aerobic muscle control 216
5.8. Increasing ballistic muscle control 217
5.9. Combined bodyweight exercises 217
5.10. Muscle control competitions 220
5.10.1. Static MC 220
5.10.2. Ballistic MC 221
5.10.3. Dynamic MC 221
5.10.4. Combined controls 222
5.10.5. Muscle dancing 222
5.10.6. Combined competition 222
5.11. Internal muscle control 222
5.11.1. Heart control 222
5.11.2. Control of the digestive organs 224
5.11.3. Maxalding internal cleansing techniques 225
5.11.4. Control of some internal functions 225
5.11.5. Mental reinforcement induced by muscle control awareness 226
220.127.116.11. Internal sensing 227
18.104.22.168. Enhancement of external sensing 228
22.214.171.124. The integration of the holistic and analytic visions 228
5.12. Mind body connection 228
5.12.1. The development of Will Power 228
5.12.2. The achievement of self control 229
5.12.3. The self control - freedom relationship 229
5.12.4. The science of self control and individual spirituality 230
6. Acknowledgements 231
7. The author 232
Figure 1. Monte Saldo, cofounder of the Maxalding system and one of the best trainers of all times. 14
Figure 2. Court Saldo, youngest Monte's son, teached Maxalding until 1980 and
perfected the system to its present form. 15
Figure 3. Maxick performing a human side-press. 17
Figure 4. Maxick teaching how to use MC to simulate heavy weightlifting.
Figure 5. Alan Mead, one of the greatest muscle controllers. 30 Figure 6. A classical Maxick's pose showing his marvellous abdominal development. 32
Figure 7. Maxick using gymnastics apparatus to prove his amazing strength when he was more than 60 years old. 33
Figure 8. Tony Sansone, the paradigm of classical male beauty and one of the most admired physiques of all times. 35 Figure 9. Otto Arco. 36
Figure 10. Jubinville, one of the latest MC masters. 38
Figure 11. Tromp van Diggelen, great Maxick's friend and a very influencial
figure in the history of bodybuilding. 39
Figure 12. Aston showing a Maxalding inspired exercise. 41
Figure 13. Pullum, legendary weightlifter and record breaker. 50
Figure 14. Theresa Saldo, the lovely Monte's daughter who demanded a kiss
every time Maxick finished a lift. Unfortunately, Theresa, was badly injured
during WWII. 60
Figure 15. Wilfred Saldo, oldest Monte's son, was killed in action during WWII. 61
Figure 16. Maxick showing his amazing muscular development in his last years of life. Doctors said that Maxick would die before he was 5 years old. He passed away short before his 80th birthday thanks to the perfect health acquired through the devoted practice of MC and his eating habits. 62 Figure 17. Maxick in a perfectly relaxed pose. The relaxation is best observed in the abdominal area. 70
Figure 18. Aston showing the use of his antidumbbell. 77
Figure 19. Monte Saldo performing a correct pushup. Note the added MC
tension in the upper body, especially the triceps, and in both legs. 78
Figure 20. Maxick teaching correct jerking technique, first movement. 82
Figure 21. Maxick teaching correct jerking technique, second movement. 82
Figure 22. Matysek performing MC-lats. 99
Figure 23. Sig Klein performing one-side MC-lats. 100
Figure 24. The author (practising SMCB relaxation during a beautiful high
mountain trekking). 23
Maxalding physical principles
What is Maxalding?
The word Maxalding was formed from the names of Maxick (Max Sick) and Monte Saldo (A. M. Woollaston), two of the best bodybuilders, gymnasts and teachers of Physical Culture of all times. This training system was developed around 1910 and lived a long life as a personalized postal course until 1980.
Such a successful life for a training system which never had a lot of modern publicity media, is the most solid proof of its efficacy. It is estimated that thou¬sands of satisfied pupils have been trained with Maxalding.
The core of the Maxalding system are not mechanical movements, but Muscle Control (MC). Many of the Maxalding exercises were revolutionary in their time and they are unsurpassed even nowadays. Some controls cause as many admiration today as when they were published for the first time.
MC teaches you to voluntarily isolate, contract and relax your muscles in a progressive way without the need of mechanical actions over the desired muscle groups. In order to achieve this, the student must learn some basic skeletal positions that make easier the feeling of each isolated muscle.
The principal goal of Maxalding is the overall control of the body and the mind (knowing the logical limitations of the human being). The control that the will performs over the muscles produces a feedback process over the mind, re-inforcing it as much as the muscles. By these means the concentration and will power increase.
Maxalding can be used alone or as a complementary training system. Be¬sides this, Maxalding implies an art and a lifestyle in itself. Although the basic controls are few, the huge richness of the human body makes the mastery of MC practically limitless. The spiritual benefits of Maxalding are very important too and can be compared favourably with other training philosophies like Yoga or Tai-Chi. But Maxalding is not a mystical approach to Physical Culture, it is an art and a science in which the student devotes to the study of the language of the muscles. The scientific basis of Maxalding is solid and well founded.
There is practically no limit to the practice of MC, because it implies the in¬ternal organs as much as the external muscles. In advanced stages of Maxald- ing you would be able to regulate your digestive system, your breathing rate and your heartbeats by means of extreme relaxation techniques.
Although Maxalding does not require large amounts of energy, it is not an easy system. The student must have personal determination, a lot of patience and will power. But Maxalding is a very progressive program and can be learned by everyone. Maxalding is a personalized system that focuses on health over all. The benefits are countless and everlasting.
1.2. Physical principles of Maxalding
Maxalding is based mainly in two physical principles:
1. Conservation of energy.
2. Distribution of energy.
Maxick explains his point of view about the energy conservation in the body in the following terms:
[...] I discovered that by using the Will to control the muscles, not only did I gain de¬velopment and strength, but that I was storing energy. By giving nothing out, I was slowly conserving energy, [...] so the more energy conserved, the more strength is proportionately attained, and with interest, because it reacts upon itself.
[...] The reasons for storing energy are manifold, but indicate first and foremost, the possibility of future action. Energy would be quite unnecessary were it not for the idea of action and its subsequent use.
(HOW TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK, 1911)
This principle is explained further, in a more physiological basis, in other Maxalding writings.
[...] It is necessary to say that any exercises performed, or any exertion made with a view to increasing the Physical Power, must not be carried far enough to induce ex¬cessive fatigue. This fact has been apparently overlooked by most teachers, whose summary advice is "to work until the muscles are incapable of doing anything further for the time being", or words to that effect. They also give to their unfortunate pupils to understand that, "the more work done, the more benefit gained", etc., regardless of the physical strength, will and capabilities of the individual.
We aim, first and foremost, at the improvement of circulation, it being through that channel alone that every function of the body can gain vigour, and acquire increased activity and endurance.
This is not attained by several hundreds of movements gone through daily with dumbbells or some apparatus, nor by the tremendous output of energy which this in¬volves. The energy must be retained and added to, and this is the end which we have in view in our System, as a whole of our teaching consists in the conservation of en¬ergy, by economizing the output; and, furthermore, in showing how to direct the energy to the best advantage.
(HEALTH, STRENGTH AND WILL POWER, MAXICK AND SALDO.)
And it occurred to me that it is not work, but nourishment, which makes muscles strong.
(MUSCLE CONTROL, MAXICK, 1911)
This point of view has been proven by more recent investigations. For ex¬ample, Olympic weightlifters train with very few repetitions in order to adapt the neural system, without fatigue, to maximum loads. The biophysical explanation of this fact is surely very complex and not well understood yet, but basically consists in the ability of the muscles for increasing and storing elastic potential energy. The muscle fibres acts like flexible springs and MC increases the amount of tension that the muscle is capable of. The fibres adapt to this new situation and reacts upon the neurological system in a feedback process which produces larger outputs of neural energy to the muscles. The final result of MC is a more contractile capability of the fibres and a stronger neural signal to them.
This key idea is clearly developed in later works.
To understand my meaning it is necessary to consider the senseless waste of en¬ergy which occurs when any big muscular effort is made by an individual who knows not how to relax those muscles which he is not requiring at the moment.
A muscle that has been brought into prominence and condition by means of Muscle control is full of energy and resistance, ready to work, and well fortified; whereas the muscle that has been tired by heavy work is usually lacking in resistance, and jaded.
(GREAT STRENGTH BY MUSCLE CONTROL, MAXICK)
In the Maxalding brochures we can read this.
Such a method of exercise (Maxalding) builds up tissue, revitalizes the whole body and creates reserve energy; the abstract commodity which establishes endurance and resistance to disease.
This is the reverse of the old fashioned method which often defeated their objects by exhausting the user. Staleness and boredom invariably follow mechanical and repeti¬tion work. The endless repetitions and the counting prevent intelligent concentration, and monotony is the deadly enemy of all living creatures.
One of the Maxalding claims is the possibility of building healthy muscular tis¬sue without the need of large damage and reconstruction of muscle fibres, a very different approach than the pursued one by the present bodybuilding
methods. The muscular growth processes are not well understood yet, but it is evident that a method which does not implies such muscle breakdowns would consume less energy. We shall detail this point in following sections. As Court Saldo said:
Maxalding's aim in every case is to work for complete functional efficiency, because a sufficiency of natural exercise will them stimulate muscle growth. Strenuous muscu¬lar work does not build muscle. If it did, the hardest workers, particularly those who start in childhood, would be the biggest and strongest people. But the reverse is actu¬ally the case, because strenuous training and hard labour actually break down the muscular tissue.We know that there are the rare cases of men who are able to train strenuously and show good physical development. But such persons are possessed of extraordinary powers of recuperation and they would get better results from more scientific methods of training. Some men are vitally strong enough to withstand several years of hard wear and tear on the organs, and it is these rare cases that are held up by advocates of strenuous training as proof of the efficacy of such training.
However, few people have the time or inclination for such unnatural methods, and it has been proven that by reasonable methods everyone is able to gain and maintain their full potentialities in health, strength and muscular development. i use the word maintain because only when a natural method is used can the training be continued throughout life.
With Maxalding a correct amount of exercise can always be taken, because the power employed is controlled by the strength and vitality of the performer. Thus as the strength and vitality increase, the effort correspondingly increases without any addi-tional increase in the number of repetitions required. And conversely, as age ad¬vances, the effort correspondingly decreases, enabling the exercises to be continued and functional efficiency retained into old age.
In Monte Saldo's NATURE'S WAY TO HEALTH we can read this:
The principles of energy-conservation and muscle-control apply here [heavy muscu¬lar development], the former to allow cell tissue to renew speedily and the latter to en¬able exercise to be carried out with the least possible tissue consumption or break¬down.
Additionally a specially muscle-building diet should be adopted, and plenty of sleep taken.
Regular hours for exercise, meals and sleep will also act favourably in building mus¬cular tissue of a quality that will bestow great strength.
And in HOW TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS.
All expenditure of energy creates tissue consumption and eventual fatigue. But if no energy were expended, movement would cease and physical decay set in. Therefore, conservation of energy must not be confused with inertia or sloth [...] in the actual building, as in the actual practice of the sport, tissue consumption and fatigue alternate with tissue building and the storing up of energy. [...] The performer, however, need not be sacrificed to the stupidity of the trainer and should not continue training after signals of real fatigue or distress have set in.
The principles of Energy Conservation and Distribution are the key to im¬prove endurance without increasing the number of repetitions in the Maxalding system. Personally I have found this theory correct. One of the most remark-able effects of MC is the increasing of muscular and cardio endurance in a short time of training. In the same brochure we can read an explanation to this fact.
Endurance is controlled by the power of any individual to Conserve and Distribute Energy. An individual who conserves the energies wisely during training, and distrib¬utes them wisely during effort or contest will be able to last longer on any particular oc¬casion, and also remain fit for a greater number of years, than another individual lack¬ing this ability, but equal in other respects. To reach a superlative degree of endur¬ance, a knowledge of energy-conservation, and energy-distribution is absolutely es¬sential. A mastery of muscle-control enables antagonistic muscles to became or re¬main relaxed, while contraction of necessary muscles is taking place.
This fact can be proved by the great matches disputed by Maxick, in which there were a lot of maximal effort lifts. Such continuous lifting is exhausting and can only be performed by people with an exceptional endurance.
Tromp van Diggelen was witness of some of these amazing endurance feats.
Max has often run down a long flight of stairs holding me aloft with one hand.
For instance, when Sick was with me in Johannesburg we were one day having pho¬tos taken to be used in the advertisements of a famous brewery [...] we were fooling about in the photographer's studio when during the morning's work Max sided-pressed me (185 pounds) above his head supporting me (on my back) on his open palm, no less than 16 times; in his left hand he held a glass of beer filled to the brim with his arm stretched at right angles to his body and he did not spill a drop!
Here is just another "stunt" that even Saxon would have found hard," I used to lie with my back on Max's open palm and he would tell me to close my eyes and it is hon¬estly true that he would then press me up so slowly that i would not know i was at arm's length until he told me to open my eyes."
Max Sick once won the lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight class in the Tyrol Championships in one day; an exhibition not only of strength but of unbelievable en¬durance.
(A SUPERMAN - MAXICK! TROMP VAN DlGGELEN)
Maxalding pursues a perfect health, it is much more than a simple training system. Maxalding produces the direct exercise of vital organs, which is very much related with energy conservation of the body.
Energy conservation becomes automatic in Maxalding, for the organs are being ex¬ercised while the great muscles of the body are at rest, or only slightly used. This is the direct reverse of the old-fashioned methods which often exhausted the muscles in an attempt to exercise the organs. The organs which have to feed the muscles; in¬stead of benefiting, frequently became injured in an attempt to cope with the demands upon them.
Another vicious circle, defeating its original object! Another amazing fallacy is that exercising the muscles until they ache, will increase their power. The truth is that the organs should be exercised so that they will energize and nourish the muscles and prevent them for becoming too easily fatigued.
(NATURE'S WAY TO HEALTH, MONTE SALDO)
This goal is summarized in the introduction to Monte Saldo's MAXALDING.
Exercise must be directly applied to the parts of the body that require it, and such exercise should be of a nature that will correctly adjust anatomically, and stimulates the functions without defeating the object by exhausting the user.
One of the most frequent questions about Maxalding is the duration of the ex¬ercises, number of repetitions and sets and periods of training. All these ques¬tions are asked from a logical point of view by means of the energy conserva¬tion principle.
What form does the exercising take? It is a combination of all the natural move¬ments that the healthy human body is capable of performing, so analyzed as to pre¬vent unnecessary repetition of movement. In organized sequence, every muscle or muscle group is contracted, relaxed, stretched and controlled. The important exercises aim -...at the attainment of a purely correct position, the eventual mastery of which en¬ables the performer to retain that perfection of pose and position with one repetition or performance every twenty-four hours.
To explain briefly, the muscle or muscle group has been fully contracted, relaxed, stretched and controlled, and the position held long enough to ensure perfect blood ir¬rigation and consequent nourishment, but without any appreciable output of energy. [...] a method based upon such sane and scientific principles must produce quicker and better results than the common method based of frequent repetition of mechanical exercise which always fatigues the muscle, breaks down tissue, depletes the energies, toughens the muscles - causing muscle binding - and often strains or overworks the heart.
Energy and Vitality are conserved to such an extent that the overplus not required is immediately shown in the development of healthy, pure muscular tissue.
This conservation of energy also very speedily creates an exceptional condition of will-power, resistance to cold catching and fatigue. One does not find oneself used up after the ten to fourteen minutes of Maxalding, but extraordinarily refreshed and buoy-ant.
This paragraph contains the answer to the "key question" of MC, what should the optimum duration of contractions be? First of all, MC exercises involve a se-quence of actions in this order:
The performance of MC in this order is of greatest importance for an ad¬equate muscular development. The complete control of a muscle implies these four steps:
• Contraction of a muscle or muscle group in order to direct blood flow to it, this contraction must be held "several seconds" to assure a good effect.
• Relaxation of the other muscles during the contraction and subsequent re¬laxation of the desired muscles. This permits to increase the circulation into the exercised muscles. A very prolonged contraction generates so much pressure that it prevents correct blood flow.
• Stretching of the contracted muscles. By means of stretching the blood flows all over the muscle, the fibres adapt to real movement and remain supple.
• Control. The real control is achieved only when a muscle can be contrac¬ted and relaxed in both stretched and flexed positions. Finally these ac¬tions could be done without any mechanical action or assistance.
We can see how modern are these ideas. In fact, many of the most scientific training and therapeutic systems of today, like PNF stretching, share analogous concepts. In many respects, Maxalding can be considered a system much more advanced than PNF, because it permits the performance of exercises by the unassisted individual.
From the information extracted from the Maxalding book and courses, we can calculate a very approximate time for each contraction.
Each session is composed from a number of exercises that vary but is about ten in most cases. We can deduce from this that each exercise takes about one minute. But, does this imply that we must sustain the contractions for a such large period? I think not. Such unnatural practice is the basis of "isotension", a degeneration of the original Maxalding system.
In the Maxalding courses the recommended number of repetitions is about 6. Considering that the time of each contraction is similar, we can conclude that the real duration of the contractions is approximately 10 seconds. The abdom¬inal exercises, for example, must be held no more than 5 seconds.
The three first phases are clear, but what is the exact meaning of control? This is a very difficult question and the answer is not unique. We can consider three basic types of MC:
• Static Muscle Control (SMC).
• Ballistic Muscle Control (BMC).
• Dynamic Muscle Control (DMC).
Depending on your goals you can concentrate more in one type or another.
SMC is the most basic of the three. It consists in the ability to contract and re¬lax isolated muscle groups in almost every position. In this case, the control phase would conclude with another contraction of about 10 seconds in the stretched position (a very difficult task if you try it, indeed). This control must be always practised, because it is the basis of the other two and permits a very good strengthening exercise in itself.
BMC consists in the quick performance (about 1-2 seconds) of successive and alternating contractions and relaxations of the same isolated muscle. This MC method is called quick reflex in the original Maxalding writings. It is recom¬mended for developing high speed and power. BCM is more difficult than the SMC, because during an explosive contraction, the surrounding muscles tend to be contracted too. This explosive controls are very important, because they teach you how to relax unnecessary muscles during quick and demanding exer¬cises for preserving energy. The mind-muscle link reinforces by means of BMC providing the ability of generating extremely powerful contractions in critical situations. BMC can be also the basis of very effective passive defensive tech¬niques against no shooting attacks.
DMC is the application of MC to real movements. If you can move a group of muscles in an isolated manner, relaxing the others along the overall range of the articulation, you have DMC.
All the three types of MC are necessary and they must be mastered in order to be a perfect Maxaldist. But, the original courses did not develop the potenti¬alities of BMC, and they focused in the performance of controlled bodyweight leverage exercises. The structure of the courses can be summarized in this form:
1. Performance of preliminary mechanical exercises in order to feel the con¬traction of isolated muscle groups. These exercises can be of dynamic and postural nature.
2. Increasing of isolated contraction by means of will concentration. This im¬plies a progressive elimination of mechanical exercises which could inter¬fere with the pure mind-muscle connection we want to achieve.
3. Progressive ability for relaxing statically and dynamically all muscle groups, including stretching positions.
4. Performance of real sports with controlled muscles. Maxalding uses non apparatus exercises, but it is also best applied to martial arts, gymnastics and weightlifting.
The Maxalding courses recommended only one set per exercise, but in the first courses the number of repetitions is not fixed. Monte Saldo justified this saying:
Perform the exercises of this lesson ad lib. as far as repetitions is concerned.
I do not want you to have a fixed number of repetitions for each exercise for the fol¬lowing reason.
The amount of exercise that would seem but light work to you on one day, might the next leave you in a state of exhaustion and this must never be allowed to happen.
So do just as much exercise as you feel you can conveniently manage at each par¬ticular bout, never forcing or straining the muscles, but just coaxing them into supple¬ness and control.
Perform each exercise slowly and carefully, as soon as you feel that the muscles you are employing have been thoroughly exercised, but not fatigued, completely relax them.
Aim always for perfection in the performing of each exercise, for correct perform¬ance is of greater importance than repetition.
But many people are not satisfied with this explanation and are worried about the possibility of under-training or over-training. As a general rule, Court Saldo establishes the convenience of 6 repetitions with full concentration.
In several exercises that imply the realization of movements with high con¬centration Monte Saldo advices that the performance of 6 repetitions should be a maximum.
Personally I have found that 2-5 repetitions of DMC exercises is enough. If you perform the four phases of MC in order in one session and you train daily (a very much recommended Maxaldist practice for a healthy development), one of the best combinations is this:
1. Perform one repetition of a SMC exercise for one isolated muscle (maxim¬um contraction, just before muscles begin to vibrate) of 5 complete breath¬ings.
2. Relax the muscle during one or two complete breathings in its stretched position.
3. Repeat the same exercise.
5. Perform the same sequence of SMC for the antagonistic muscle, this per¬mits a full stretching of the worked antagonistic muscle.
6. Move to the next muscle group in the same fashion.
7. Relax all muscles during 5 - 10 breathings.
This method should be applied without interruption to all important muscles of the body in a descending, from head to toes, fashion.
The last phase of real MC (not just the performance of contractions) is the key to the other great principle, the distribution of energy.
The method for contracting the muscles for a correct distribution of energy is very well explained by Monte Saldo in his book HOW TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS.
To train any muscle with the object of gaining perfect tone, take it from the position in which it can remain completely relaxed and soft to a position that allows fullest con¬traction and bulking. Hold it in this position and gradually increase the contraction until it has been brought to its hardest condition and fully suffused with blood. Then return it to its position of relaxation. If blood suffusion has been thorough, the temperature of the muscle will increase and the tissues will have been nourished without any notable breaking down, as would be the case if mechanical repetition exercise were employed. This is the true way to build tissue, as the breaking down is so slight and the nourish¬ment so easily provided. The contraction should not be held long; and light self-mas¬sage of the muscle can follow. The contraction should be repeated until it is felt that the muscle has been thoroughly exercised but not actually fatigued.
But, MC does not reduce to this sort of contraction. This is only one prelim¬inary form of SMC, called peak contraction. The misuse of this technique was the cause of the misunderstandings and critiques from several strongmen of the past to MC, like Alan Calvert, who was sceptic about the possibility of true development by means of MC.
Some people experience dizziness a few hours after trying to do MC. The cause is a bad distribution of energy over the muscles and the saturation of the nervous system due to strain. Successful MC has two different and equally im¬portant aspects:
• The effective isolation of muscles.
• The "fine tune" of the muscle tension.
Unfortunately, the control of the tension has been ignored and poorly under¬stood. The control of the isolated muscle tension is the very key of MC and a cornerstone of the whole Maxalding system. We can read continuously this ad¬vice in the Maxalding works, don't force your muscles, coax them. But, what is exactly the meaning of these words?
Do not allow your muscles vibrate!
Muscle vibration is the worst enemy of MC, believe me. Almost every Maxald- ing student makes this mistake at the beginning of his or her learning (yes, Maxalding is an ideal training method for women, too). This bad practice wastes a lot of precious energy and it is very dangerous. Sometimes it is more difficult to learn to control your internal tension than the actual isolation of a muscle. How can we know that we are performing correctly a control?
Adopt the position for mastering an isolation. Increase your tension slowly, when you feel that your muscles are hard, but not rigid (just the step below vi¬bration), sustain the tension about 5 breathings, no more no less. Do not elimin¬ate the tension too suddenly, take about 1 slow breathing to do it. Another good clue to know if your tension is correct is to feel that you can move the controlled muscle in spite of the tension. If you cannot move a contracted muscle, you have not mastered MC. Remember always this very important point: muscle- shaking is the opposite to muscle-control.
Maxick is very clear in this respect, the principal aim of MC is its application to health and the performance of real feats of strength. MC alone represents only one term of the global equation, related to energy conservation.
But for a perfect body you must also practice the second term, involved with the energy distribution. A body replete with energy is useless, if you do not know how to employ this energy in a real situation.
I do not, and never have, claimed that by muscle-control alone, unaided by mechan¬ical exercises, each muscle may be brought to its highest state of development: but I do claim that mechanical exercise, either with or without apparatus, will never produce the limit of strength and development of which the individual is capable unless com¬bined with muscle-control.
(MUSCLE CONTROL, MAXICK)
Besides, Maxick explained in his book how to control each muscle in all its positions. And he recommended several exercises for the same parts in order to achieve this goal.
Monte Saldo shared this point of view and showed us it in more detail.
Muscle toning by resistance [...] compels the muscles to work in groups and is, con¬sequently, more destructive to tissue than the method of isolating muscles by contraction.
Resistance however, becomes necessary to establish muscular coordination. Res¬istance can be provided in a number of ways. The weight of the body supplies resist¬ance to the legs in the deep knee bend or the weight of the legs supplies resistance to the abdominal muscles in the usual supine leg-raising movements. There is also the more definite method of using the two arms in resistance to one another, or the neck against the arms and so on. When resistance exercises are used for developmental purposes, even fewer repetitions should be used than in the case of voluntary contrac¬tions. Exceptional toning by resistance might be provided by the lifting of heavy weights. Thus, a man who has gained a good physique by natural methods and strengthened his internal organs against risk of strain, might find it necessary to occa¬sionally lift heavy weights to maintain the muscle tone necessary for his best lifts to be accomplished. In so doing he would, of course, reduce his speed for lighter efforts, but the example is given to indicate my meaning of muscle-toning in its broadest sense.
(HOW TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, MONTE SALDO)
This is a very important paragraph in the Maxalding literature, because it fo¬cuses the discussion about MC. Is MC able to proportionate great strength and development? Yes, but in a non specific and abstract form, not immediately suitable for real feats of strength.
If you want to train for attaining some specific goal, you must sporadically ad¬apt your controlled muscles to the desired task. For example, if you want to per¬form a perfect one armed one legged push up, you must acquire the sense of equilibrium necessary to balance the body. MC can give you enough strength and control for success, but it cannot develop the feeling and gravitational bal¬ance of this concrete exercise. In spite of this, it is true that a master in MC will need only very few repetitions to successfully perform this feat of strength, be¬cause the only thing here is to adapt the muscles for working adequately in groups. This is that we want to mean by "distribution of energy". Note the men¬tion to the convenience of training with slow movements and lighter weights for maximal strength. I will return to the controversy about the use of weights in Maxalding in next paragraphs.
The periodization of training is another interesting question. Many of the training methods of today recommend to work the most important muscles only three times a week or less. However, the Maxalding practice is daily because the exercises are performed with very few repetitions. Modern research sus¬tains this theory. Athletes whose main aim is the development of a large strength to bodyweight ratio, as Olympic weightlifters, powerlifters and gym¬nasts, train several times a day with very few repetitions (2-3) in order to avoid fatigue and to adapt the neural system to high loads.
Following the suggestions of Maxick and Monte Saldo, we can design differ¬ent exercise strategies. A very complete and productive training schedule is this:
Day 1. One session of SMC in the way described before, followed by self res¬istance exercises (1 set, 2-5 repetitions).
Day 2. One session of 5 BMC of one breathing each over the same isolated muscle for all important muscles in the body in descending order. You must re¬lax the muscle during inhalation and contract it powerfully during exhalation. Do not force exhalation, if you cannot regulate your exhalation you are forcing the muscles too much. After this perform a series of virtual lifting movements (DMC) over full range of motion of muscles (2-5 repetitions). Although the use of weights is not necessary at all, some people can find very useful to do the exercises with light dumbbells (2-5 kg each) for feeling some resistance over the correct muscles. Actually, it is very difficult to learn to relax the antagonistic muscles without any feeling of real resistance. This was a very frequent prac¬tice among old strongmen, including Maxick.
Day 3. One session of muscle controlled bodyweight leverage exercises (2-5 repetitions per exercise).
We can define the energy distribution of Maxalding as the ability to use op¬timally the energy generated by means of MC.
Suppose you were to take a fairly heavy weight, one heavy enough at any rate to necessitate the calling into work the greater energies of the body. Well, there are sev¬eral sets of muscles as they are required for use, and thus send the essential amount of energy into each, just at the important moment. It means, moreover, that you are using the will-power and strengthening thereby the source of all power and energy.
(HOW TO BECAME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK)
When Maxalding is applied to the performance of a particular sport (for ex¬ample, martial arts, gymnastics, weight-lifting, bodybuilding, ...), we can distin¬guish five definite phases for a successful training (HOW TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND SPORTS, Monte Saldo):
1. The perfect development and conditioning of the physique for a particular sport.
2. A practical knowledge of muscle-control to ensure the full assistance of all essential muscles, and the complete relaxation of all muscles that are ant¬agonistic to the desired movement.
3. A thorough and mechanical mastery of all points of technique of the partic¬ular sport.
4. The correct period of rest before contest, to suit the sport and the idiosyn¬crasies of the performer.
5. Intelligent handling of the contestant on the day of the contest.
Particular applications of the principle of energy distribution are given by Monte Saldo.
Correct distribution of energy in any particular sport must be controlled by the spe¬cial requirements of the sport. Thus in the performance of feats of strength, when the lifting of the heaviest possible weight is the object, as few lifts as possible should be used, with the greatest amount of energy put into a single effort. Conversely, the long¬distance runner would spread his supply of energy over the whole distance, for an un¬wise distribution of energy would spoil his time, as he would use too much energy at certain periods of the race to an extent that would prevent him retaining sufficient en¬ergy to complete the race in good time [...].
Psychological principles and Maxick’s training secrets
2.1. The discovery of the "mind over matter" ability
The discovery of MC as a form of exercise is not new and certainly some "ten¬sion exercises" are as ancient as can be yoga and martial arts. However, Maxick was, without doubt, which gave to MC its most scientific form. He per-fected the existing controls and created many more, including the most import¬ant abdominal isolations.
The origin of the MC system developed by Maxick was curious.
[...] for I was puny, delicate child - so full of rickets, that I had reached the age of five before i could walk; and for the next two years i was so weakly that the school au¬thorities exempted me from attendance. indeed, i was always ailing, and my condition was often so precarious that more than once my life was despaired of.
At the age of seven I went to school for the first time,and then I realized how weak I was by comparing myself with the other boys, who were no more than ordinary healthy, boisterous fellows.
Being far too feeble to join in their sports, I naturally had the desire to be be strong, but my parents were opposed to my exerting myself in any way, maintaining that one as weak as I could only injure himself by indulging in any form of exercise. But, in spite of the atmosphere of error with which I was surrounded, the desire to become strong obsessed me to such a degree, that the idea of using the mind as apparatus gradually evolved itself, and thus, in opposing my desires to exercise, my parents had sown the seeds that were to fructify to so great an extent.
It required some years, however, before I discovered the real secret of "mind over matter", but from the moment I realized the full meaning and the possibilities of this in¬ner force, I went on with determination, and within a very short space of time I was physically as you can see me now, and mentally possessed of so strong a will,that I am able to deny myself of anything but the bare necessities of life without the least dif¬ficulty or ill effect.
It would take a long time to explain the process of thought that led up to the evolu¬tion of the above Idea, and it really comes under the many things which are of greater interest to the psychologist than to others whose days are taken up with the pursuit of material things.
(HOW TO BECAME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK)
This paragraph advances some of the key ideas about MC.
• The desire to be strong (the firm belief in our own success).
• Use of the mind as developer of inner force.
• Will power.
• Mental feedback and reinforcement.
• Both physical and psychological training by means of MC.
• Increase of self confidence and personal determination with the aid of MC. In subsequent sections we are going to analyse all this points.
I only became a weight-lifter in order to prove that the control of the muscles was the greatest consideration in the performance of feats of strength; and I reason, with obvious logic, that if I am able to perform feats of strength far beyond anything ever accomplished by the most scientific lifter at my weight, by controlling the muscles, I can put that power to a much greater use; in fact to the greatest use of which this world is need - to the curing of disease.
(HOW TO BECAME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK)
The importance of a proper control on the body functions, not only mechanic¬al motions, is clear. All daily activities can be benefited by muscle control. For example, the relaxation and concentration techniques implied by muscle control can improve intellectual work a lot.
On the other side, the use of muscle control in order to relief injuries and for rehabilitation is beyond any doubt. One of the most successful and famous cases was the training of Alan Mead by Monte Saldo. Alan Mead was bad in¬jured during World War I and he lost a leg. In spite of this, wisely directed by Monte Saldo, he was able to develop one of the most amazing and perfect nat¬ural bodies of all times. The muscle control abilities of Alan Mead are also le¬gendary. Many people think that he was probably one of the best after Maxick.
Some people accused Maxick of overestimating the real value of muscle con¬trol. They sustained that the only true method for acquiring strength is weightlifting. Maxick never rejected a rational use of weights for maximum strength gains.
I should only like to correct several errors regarding my own person for the last 40 years. It is unknown to me that I should ever have made the statement that only muscle poses were the cause of my abilities in weightlifting. In the contrary, I have achieved strength and muscles as far as they are remarkable through weightlifting [...].
(YOU ARE AS STRONG AS YOU WISH TO BE, MAXICK)
Does it imply that MC is ineffective as a mean of muscle development? Not at all. We can study this paragraph more closely and we shall discover a lot of in-
First of all, note that Maxick carefully avoids the use of the words "muscle control", he literally speaks about "muscle poses", a very limited form of MC for exhibition purposes.
We must consider that Maxick was a very clever person and he chose his words very carefully. In the Maxalding literature we appreciate that the concept of MC is much wider and it applies to every possible exercise. This can be proved by the following words of Maxick.
You shall probably ask me now what kind of exercises I practised and how often repeated them. I must confess that I can't recall this early details. But I shall tell you "how" I practised. There was for me only one thought and one desire - to become strong - and everything else had to bow before this unconditional goal.
The first key is the use of visualization techniques during exercise, we shall dedicate the next section to this very important point.
It is doubtless valuable for a modern athlete to take advantage of the available tech¬nical knowledge and of useful special exercises in his path of development. If he util¬izes these assets wisely he will derive their full benefits and accelerate the rate of pro-gress. When I was young there were hardly any sport periodicals available to provide me with practical advice. In this limited era no direct theoretical could be secured. Thus I was compelled to be completely on my own. I had to place the main stress of my efforts on the execution of the exercises and not their quality. I very soon learned that the important factor was the inspiration and motivation in performing an exercise and not merely the number of its repetitions. With this I want to say that I did not put any special value on a high number of mechanical repetitions but that I combined every individual movement with the conscious sensing of a strengthening of a certain group of muscles. Through this process the entire attention flowed into the muscles active at the moment and the inner expectation of a strengthening resulted in an ad¬vantageous change of the physique.
This is true MC! The concentration of all mental and body resources over the exercised muscles. When you perform an exercise think that your life depends on it in this very moment, but relaxing all other muscles and thoughts, trying to redistribute all energy to the stressed body parts. With this theory in mind, is it really so important the use of weights? In fact, force is force, because in the macroscopic world we can only experience gravity and electromagnetism and they are measured in the same unities. An experienced muscle controller can increase the intramuscular tension of almost any body part to levels so high that the generated resistance is equivalent to maximal loads for the individual.
A simple calculation based in the concentration abilities of Maxick can prove this (note that I shall not use the evident lifting records).
To show the terrific strength of his abdominal muscles Sick used to lie flat on the stage and I, or some other 180 pound or 200 pound man, would stand 7 feet above him and jump on to his abdomen; believe me, I bounced as if jumping on to solid rub¬ber!
You mathematicians can work out with what force the feet of a 200 pound man would strike Max's rectus abdominis when falling from a height of 7 feet.
(A SUPERMAN - MAXICK, TROMP VAN DIGGELEN)
Before calculating, I must clarify that from a physical point of view the relev¬ant magnitudes in a collision are energy and momentum, not force. The mag¬nitude which Tromp wanted to know was really the impulse, the force generated in a short time by the interchanging of momentum in a shock.
If we suppose that the impact has taken a time of about 0.1 s and the colli¬sion is nearly elastic, the result is about 4500 N, the equivalent to 450 kg-force, all generated by muscle controlled voluntary contraction! This is paradigmatic example because this huge amount of force was not generated by any mech¬anical means.
Actually, Maxick was criticized by his lack of technical skill in weightlifting. He was never a devoted weightlifter.
What is really the role of weights in Maxalding? Are they the real mean of muscle development? Is Maxalding a fraud, another free-movement course with impossible claims?
No, Maxalding is a solid piece of science. The exclusive use of bodyweight exercises has nothing to do with the foundations and the spirit of Maxalding. Another thing, that we shall discuss further, is the possibility of developing an extraordinary muscularity without weights.
It must, therefore, be made clear to everyone that strength in its essence is a condi¬tion of conciousness and that all exercises are mere means. However, just as you require scales to control the material weight of an object so the mentally training ath¬lete when weight lifting can measure the quality and strength of his muscles.
An additional advantage of the use of weights and other exercising apparatus is the strengthening of the tendons which only then grant to the developed muscle the prac¬tical carrying out of a feat of strength.
This paragraph from Maxick's article is very clear. Let's read it carefully.
• "Strength in its essence is a condition of conciousness". The power of the mind is the origin and real instrument of strength development. There are countless facts that prove it. For example, the human being is not nat¬urally adapted to climb, but by means of our mind free climbers are able to do things considered impossible for the human race (if you do not know that a 9a means in the scale of climbing difficulty, I suggest you to take a view). The same thing occurs in almost every branch of fair sport.
• "All exercises are mere means". MC is not a bulging exercise in itself, as many can believe, it is the mean by which you can perform the strongest possible mind - body connection. If you use MC as a mere mean to devel¬op muscle, you will fail. There are a lot of quicker methods to achieve muscularity than MC, because MC does not produce large damages in the muscle fibres. MC is a long time and patient investment (the best one for health, indeed).
• "Just as you require scales to control the material weight of an object so the mentally training athlete when weight lifting can measure the quality and strength of his muscles". The principal use of weights is the mental re¬inforcement and encouragement that can produce the objective measure of your progress. But if you are not interested in breaking numbers, weights are not necessary.
• "An additional advantage of the use of weights and other exercising ap¬paratus is the strengthening of the tendons which only then grant to the developed muscle the practical carrying out of a feat of strength". The strengthening of tendons can be done by other means different from weights with the same (or better efficiency), for example, self-resistance. The use of apparatus for this purpose must be seldom and limited, be¬cause it requires high tension and concentration. Too much tendon train¬ing will cause bad injuries.
The misconceptions about MC and its applications had two consequences. The difficulty of learning MC alone conducted to a scorn and progressive oblivi¬on of this art and science, which degenerated into isotension in bodybuilding circles. The second is evident, nobody has been able to emulate Maxick in all round strength, weight by weight, in the last 100 years.
Mind you, although Max admits that Terlazzo would have defeated him owing to the latter's great strength helped by modern (Bob Hoffman) scientific lifting I am still of opinion that my man (Maxick) was the stronger of the two where sheer nerve power and muscular quality are concerned.
(A SUPERMAN - MAXICK, TROMP VAN DlGGELEN)
It is rather in the jerk from the shoulders overhead that Maxick is seen to best ad¬vantage, and his record of 340 pounds in this movement would be equal to no less than 400 pounds today. This is truly phenomenal lifting. It would appear to surpass by at least 20 pounds the best jerking ability of any present-day lightweight lifter. [...] Of him it could almost have been said, "We shall not see his like again".
(THE SUPER ATHLETES, DAVID P. WILLOUGHBY)
There have been a lot of vituperative opinions about MC, accusing Maxalding of false and nonsense. Let's read some of this opinions.
Shortly after producing his book, Maxick formed a partnership with another muscle- man, Monte Saldo, and together they created a physical culture course called "Max¬alding: Nature's way to Mental and Physical Fitness.'The basis for their training advice was that calisthenics and muscle contraction were the only things needed to produce a superb physique. This, of course, was nonsense, but the course sold well anyway.
(GALLERY OF IRONMEN - MAXICK, DAVID CHAPMAN)
Oh, really? What is the idea of a superb physique for this author? A body like Sergio Oliva's one? Are not classical bodies (the most appreciated from a com¬mon aesthetic point of view) like Tony Sansone's, "superb physiques"? Sig Klein, who was a Maxick's pupil, said train for shape, and the strength will come. Note, shape, not bulk. There is a lot of prejudged and harmful concep¬tions about bodybuilding.
Another attack to MC came from Alan Calvert and Otto Arco. Apparently this opinion is very reliable because Otto Arco was one of the greatest in the art of MC. He claimed to be the best and to have invented some of the controls attrib¬uted to Maxick.
Here is the opinion of Tromp van Diggelen about the Otto's claims.
It was in the year 1909 that I made up my mind that England should learn what muscle control really meant. I was good at it (and still am, I don't think even Arco could beat my own control) but I knew that Max had attained the absolute mastery of all vol-untary muscles and could even control to some extent an involuntary muscle (the heart).
In fact, Arco was preparing some sort of "ultimate apparatus" for strength de¬velopment. Perhaps, the possibility of developing a superb body without appli¬ances was against his business. However, Arco was one of the best muscle controllers of all times, he respected Maxick's ideas and used them.
What is really meant by "Muscle Control" is mind - control over muscle. Simply, the ability to flex a muscle by an effort of the will, without the motion of limb or body which usually accompanies such flexion. [...] Such stunts can be used as a form of exercise; altho it is doubtful whether they add much to either the size or strength of the muscles. Unquestionably they do help to promote a better circulation of the blood. [...]
The greatest interest in "muscle-control" - the technical kind - is in its possibilities as a means of development. Perhaps there are individuals, who have succeeded in get¬ting a prominent muscular development thru the daily performance of "muscle-control" stunts. The trouble is that muscles so developed, while they may stand out distinctly, rarely have power in proportion to their size. And, almost invariably, the development is confined to these few muscles which are involved in the most spectacular display stunts. The objection to "muscle-control" as a means of development,is much the same as the objection to the once-popular "resistance exercises"; (those in which a muscle is developed thru working it against the resistance of its opposing muscle). Un-questionably resistance exercises helped some men to get showily-developed upper arms. But both methods are limited in their application to comparatively few muscles; and both involve a nervous drain.
(THE LARGER ASPECTS OF MUSCLE CONTROL, ALAN CALVERT)
Thus, the two main critics to MC are:
• MC has a very restricted application, it cannot work all muscles.
• MC involves a nervous drain.
The first point is highly paradoxical, because the purpose of real MC is the complete and healthy development of all muscles in the body, including, directly or indirectly, the internal organs. In fact, the self-massage that generates MC in the abdomen and thorax is impossible to simulate with another type of exer¬cises. The second point is absurd.
Does not the lifting of a very heavy barbell drain the nervous system? Why do Olympic weightlifters perform so a low number of repetitions? Note that Alan Calvert does not mention the relaxing effects of MC, a key point in Maxalding.
Liederman and Paschall express their thoughts about MC in similar terms. But, there is a contradiction. For example, many experts do not negate the value of MC for developing strength, but its value as affective mean to cause muscle growth (hypertrophy). This is the idea, for example, of Jubinville.
Who has the truth? All this information conducts us to the real secrets of Maxick's training. The most attractive thing about Maxick is the fact that he was not genetically favoured by Nature, he was a very ill child indeed. What were the exercises that Maxick used? Can we emulate him? We can deduce them
from the testimonials of those who saw him training. Here are the opinions of Tromp van Diggelen, Edward Aston, George Jowett, Pullum and finally, a very realistic testimonial from Court Saldo.
On the stage he never lifted barbells, his chief act was a gymnastic exhibition on two long silver chains (no rings); on these chains he performed remarkable stunts such as crucifixes, etc. While the spotlights showed up his unparalleled development; when Max then gave his muscle control act (I can assure you from very vast experience that the world has never seen the like). [...] After this Max, who usually weighted under 140 pounds in his music hall performances, would invite any heavy man in the audi-ence who would like to be lifted to come on the stage. This human dynamo would even take a 240 pound man, apply his open palm to man's lower spine, get the man to grip his (Max's) wrist with both hands,then he would hoist the cumbersome human dumbbell to his shoulder using his left hand to help and then without any fuss push him to arm's length (using the one arm only) and walk off the stage with him. Max has often run down a long flight of stairs holding me aloft with one hand. He was also a su¬per gymnast and hand balancer and really only used weightlifting as a means of exhib¬iting the amazing strength which his colossal mental concentration enabled him to use to unusual advantage.
(A SUPERMAN - MAXICK, TROMP VAN DlGGELEN)
Tromp indicates us that the core of the Maxick's training was:
• Gymnastics, especially Roman rings (without rings) feats. This type of training develops and extreme functional
• strength and endurance, because these exercises demand a lot of con¬centration and stability. The rings hit very powerfully all the muscles in a stressing combination of controlled isometrics and explosive movements.
• Muscle Control combined with hand balancing.
• Weightlifting. Maxick lifted very infrequently in order to prove his strength.
• The key of Maxick's strength was "his colossal mental concentration".
Tromp insists in the very important psychological aspect of the Maxick's train¬ing.
A famous anatomist once said to me: "When Sick does feats of strength he actually seems to excess his physical powers" and it is true that his mental concentration is something phenomenal.
The fact that the Maxick's mental concentration abilities were intimately re¬lated with his regular MC practice is beyond any doubt.
Max Sick has since the word muscle control was first used, been the "greatest ever" at this form of muscular adaptability.
I personally claim to be the first man who introduced muscle-control on an scientific basis for in 1900 I was taken to Vienna to show my exhibition (not half as good as saw later from Max Sick) to world famous nerve specialist Krafft-Ebing.
(A SUPERMAN - MAXICK, TROMP VAN DIGGELEN)
Here is the Aston's testimonial. Remember that Aston won Maxick at their weightlifting matches (note the extreme admiration and friendship that Aston shows to Maxick).
But Maxick was unlucky with the weights here against me - I don't believe he even trained seriously for me. He wanted to beat a heavyweight, not a middle-weight.
However his reputation did not suffer. For a smallish man he was a superman, and he proved it. [...] His cult of muscle control was a vogue for years, and it still has many adherents. Much has been written about his relying purely on control exercise for his weightlifting matches, but there is no truth in this theory. Maxick himself says, "I trained for weightlifting with weights - how else could I develop tendon strength so es¬sential to the game?"
MC is a perfect training in itself, but no specific. But this happens in every branch of sport, is a consequence of the specific training principle and follows from muscular adaptability to a specific work. If you want to lift iron, you must lift iron some¬times, it is evident. And if you want to run a marathon, you must run a lot. But immedi¬ately Aston makes clearer his statement.
Maxick was not a professional weightlifter; he was a Gymnast, a Music Hall Artiste, and sculptor's model. He was also bearer in Hand Balancing acts with partners - all heavier men. I believe he could wrestle too, but cared little for it.
What was the role of MC in the beginnings of Maxick's training? Aston says us.
Was he born favoured with the promise of a good physique? No! He was sickly as a child, and when he was old enough to be tired of being mediocre, he determined to do something about it. Not being able to afford appliances he invented his own - Muscle Control - and it served his purpose until he needed fresh interests and the apparatus to further them.
Maxick was not only able to control his body, all who knew them, also ad¬mired his personality.
As a man he was and still is fine example of Strength with Modesty, and, serious in matters of physical health, he was also very human.
(MAXICK, THE SUPERMAN, EDWARD ASTON)
The benefits of MC were fully recognized by Aston after Monte Saldo, cofounder of Maxalding and probably one of the most clever trainer of all times, prepared him for his match with Inch, which Aston won.
I naturally and necessarily devoted the majority of my time and of my energies to weightlifting practice, but at no stage of my career, not even today when i am earning my regular income as an acrobatic dancer on the stage, have I omitted this self-resist¬ance or "free exercises" from my daily practice.
I find there is quite a wide interest taken in "free exercises", in physical development through the mutual opposition or antagonism of muscle groups. [...] These should dis¬cover quite speedily that "self-resistance" or "free" exercises can be fully and even more interesting than the more strenuous systems of Physical Culture and Develop¬ment.
As one develops and intensifies "free" or "self-resistance" exercises,one inevitably commences to develop "muscle-control". One learns ever more about one's own body and its possibilities, its peculiar weaknesses and strengths, and equally inevitably one is encouraged to make fresh experiments. One finds that while certain muscle groups are being strengthened others are benefiting, perhaps without one's having been fully conscious that they would so benefit. Moreover, there will be scarcely any risk at all that the muscles as they develop, that is to say, increase in bulk, will be merely for dis¬play, hard and of little, if any real value, save as "padding" for one's clothes.
Muscle which is cultivated, by mental direction, will be ever supple, resilient and of the finest quality, readily adaptable for any purpose to which it may be applied.
(HOW TO DEVELOP STRENGTH WITHOUT APPLIANCES, EDWARD ASTON)
Aston confirms us that the regular and serious use of MC can develop strength and bulk to a high degree, benefiting all muscles in the body. Besides, this type of muscles, worked by MC, are of top quality and very adaptable to
any other sport. This is a key idea, if your core training is not based in MC, you must perform always MC as a preliminary training in any branch of sport, never as a "final retouch" for bodybuilding poses.
Can MC substitute your specific training for gymnastics or weightlifting? No, not at all, you must feel the resistance that you want to move. But, can MC be a complete training system for developing great strength and a beautiful body without appliances? Emphatically yes.
Aston insists in the importance of mental concentration for success.
If benefit is desired and development sought after, especially if this is sought in im¬provement of muscle quality, the exercises should be approached and carried through in thoroughly serious vein and with full mental direction towards the goal at which one is aiming.
Aston embraced firmly the principles that founded Maxalding in his articles. The important thing in Physical Culture is not the use of weights or apparatus, is the mental attitude and its application to real MC.
You may perform free exercises until the cows come home with little benefit to your health, strength or muscularity ir your mind is wandering from the thoughts of break¬fast to your best girl, for it is only when you focus your full attention to the muscles be-ing used that the work becomes strenuous and result getting.
Attempt to pick up a weight from the floor - one just within your compass - and you will find that unless you bring your full powers to bear on the job in hand, you will not succeed in raising it an inch. You have to give your full and undivided attention to the task of raising the weight; otherwise you will fail.
(HOW TO DEVELOP A POWERFUL GRIP, EDWARD ASTON)
This is repeated continuously in almost every Aston's writing. I recommend vividly the reading of these works, because are plenty of good sense and shows some very practical training ideas. For example, the use of an anti-bar¬bell (a leverage appliance formed exclusively by a bar and a weight of 5 kg at¬tached to one end) is a cheap, safe and excellent way to train with weights (without the need of heavy weights). Such a simple apparatus has all the bene¬fits of kettlebells without any of their shortcomings.
The Aston's opinions are very important because he lost some fingers in World War I and surely he could not train with very heavy weights. Here are his words for a Maxalding brochure.
"Dear Cout Saldo,You will no doubt be surprised to hear from me at this rather late day in my life, age 72, but I thought it would be of some interest to your circle of friends to know how Maxalding has served me. Second only to Maxick himself, your
father considered me as the exponent of the cult, and as you no doubt remember, I was the chief model in the lectures and demonstrations given to medical profession and in a film taken of the exercises. Throughout my professional career Maxalding al¬ways kept me in top form, and today I am fit and taken for a man 20 years younger."
Although the Aston's articles are sufficient to have a clear concept about the Maxick's training principles, it is a good thing to explore the experiences of an¬other famous strongmen. George Jowett did not like pure MC exercises (without mechanical resistance), but agreed completely with Maxick's ideas.
Max Sick, the marvellous Bavarian athlete, practised most for back development what hand balancers call "press outs". I happen to know this exercise was one of his pet exercises. So much he believed in it that it finally became his only exercise (after he had gotten his development). [...] Personally, I do not care too much for "will power" exercises or those which involve concentration unless they are combined with some other form of resistance. It always seems to me to be too much of a drain on the nervous system. I am all for building up and would rather not do an exercise, no matter how good it is rated, if I see it causes an organic, nervous or other muscular reaction.
There are people who will mention Max Sick as a marvellous example of one who employed will power only. But this is not wholly true, and I think those people speak more from hearsay than from actual observation of this great athlete. I knew him and saw him train day in and day out. Most of his exercises he did practise without the use of apparatus, but in all of them he supplied a resistance on much the same manner as employed in the last explained exercise [self-resistance]. He employed one group of muscles against the other. In other exercises he used light dumbbells.
To some this may seem strange since his records and achievements as a strong man make the best living middleweight strong man look like a baby. His statement in his book is "I do not have to use heavy weight in order to accomplish great physical feats. Positions are the most important to learn but they cannot be learned struggling with heavy objects, which takes almost all of your strength. Neither can strong muscles be built struggling with heavy weights. Struggling with heavy weights keeps the mind from concentrating wholly upon the exercises and so robs the muscles of the benefit of the exercise". It is common sense. Arthur Saxon preached the same story and prac¬tised it. He said "When a man raises, once only, a heavy weight, all that he proves himself to possess is muscular control and great contractile power, but this not guaran¬tee sound internal organs nor does it prove that a man would come out well in an en¬durance test".He further states "Take care of the organs and they will take care of the muscles".
I could repeat and produce proof upon proof of testimony believed and practised by other giants of strength and the substance of their training is all in the same vein, namely, exercise with heavy weights is not necessary for muscular development. Both Max Sick and Saxon stand without equal. Both were deep students of the body and knew its physical mechanism from A to Z. Both are living examples of what they prac-
tised and preached.
Neither was ever influenced by commercial influences to sell or sign lying testimoni¬als. I defy anyone to produce a written testimonial to the contrary ever signed by either man.
I quote what each wrote in the only book each ever wrote. I knew them intimately as I knew others. There was a time in my young life when I became so obsessed to lift, I lost my better reasoning, and became so weak I could not lift half with two hands that I had been able to lift with one. I was seventeen years old at the time, and have to thank both Saxon and Hackenschmidt for correcting my method of training.
The unfortunate thing in the body building training of many young fellows is that for some reason they easily believe things that are contrary to fact. Facts alone count and prove the substance of the effort. Follow the advice of the great masters who proved by their superlative health and rugged strength and physical perfection the truth of their beliefs and let nothing else deter you.
(MOLDING A MIGHTY BACK, GEORGE JOWETT)
This text gives us a lot of information about the Maxick's training and prin¬ciples. I shall analyse it in depth.
• "Press-outs", or "handstand push-ups", were one of the favourite Maxick's exercises. He performed them directly on the floor in a slow and controlled manner, probably contracting the necessary muscles along the range of motion. Press-outs are a key exercise in gymnastics and they develop ex¬treme coordination and core strength. One variation of this exercise is the famous "tiger bend", another pet exercise of old strongmen. These exer¬cises were recommended for quick improvement in pressing power.
• Bodyweight exercises combine very well with MC. Both type of exercises complement each other in an almost ideal form. This is because pure mental MC produces intramuscular and intermuscular tension similar to a pulling action without actual motion of the joints (muscle pulls tendon), but pure bodyweight exercises are of pushing nature in general (tendon pulls muscle). This makes the muscle controlled bodyweight exercises harder than the corresponding weightlifting ones, because in weightlifting the contraction of the involved muscles helps the motion and makes it more stable, but in bodyweight exercises, the contraction of the involved muscles makes the motion slower and more difficult, forcing us to concen¬trate our attention completely on the exercise. Besides, the use of our own body helps us to learn more easily which muscles must be relaxed and which contracted in full body movements. On the other side, weightlifting or self resistance exercises will be more suitable in order to learn how to isolate individual muscle groups, because produce a more recognizable
tension feeling over the muscles.
• The performance of a large number of exercises is not necessary. I you apply correctly MC to your training, it is sufficient to select only a few exer¬cises which involve a lot of different muscle groups in order to develop a great strength to bodyweight ratio. Remember that MC is a perfect no- specific training in itself. If you are not interested in excelling at any partic¬ular sport (you want to be healthy and strong in general), you need to per-form only two of three whole body exercises like squats, push-ups or pull- ups.
• Pure mental MC training is very difficult because it involves a large amount of learning time, concentration and self discipline. This is the main reason because many strongmen did not use MC in its pure form, an ath¬lete wants (or needs) quicker results in general than MC produces. This was not the Maxick's case, because he had no access to any kind of ap¬paratus during his first years of training. We can observe that the advice about MC draining the nervous system was very common between some old strongmen. This could be certain in extreme cases, comparing MC to strongfortism, for example, but it is completely absurd from the point of view of heavy weightlifting. MC affects negatively your nervous system only if you do not follow the very important advice of never allowing your muscles vibrate or strain. In fact, one of the most amazing and pleasant results of MC is the deep relaxing sensation it produces. Good MC helps to reinforce and replenish with energy your body and mind, does not drain them at all.
• It is convenient to combine "real resistance" with MC in first stages of Max- alding. Many people find very difficult to relax and isolate adequately cer¬tain muscle groups, straining themselves too much while they try to con¬tract powerfully the desired muscles. A light amount of resistance can help the student to distinguish correctly the intramuscular and intermuscular tensions. Real resistance is also necessary to develop tendon strength. MC muscle development must be always balanced by tendon reinforce¬ment, because a very strong muscle can damage a relatively weak and untrained tendon in a real heavy effort. But tendon strength does not in¬volves a special training, light weights, self-resistance isometrics or con¬trolled bodyweight leverage exercises will suffice. This does not imply that MC is not good for tendons, on the contrary, MC makes the tendons more flexible and responsive to real work.
• The core of Maxick's training was no apparatus exercises, all authors agree with this. Maxick lifted seldom heavy weights, but a minimumamount of lifts was absolutely necessary for him in order to learn the cor¬rect positions for each lift, how to apply MC to them and in order to his tendons got used to high loads.
• The author of the text affirms that Maxick did not use MC in its pure men¬tal form. I do not agree with this. The Aston testimonials reveal clearly that self resistance is only a previous mean to achieve true MC. The aim is true MC, not exercising one muscle against other. Besides, the author is referring to back exercises. Casually, many of the Maxalding back exer¬cises involve self resistance assistance (for example, loosening of shoulder blades) because they are not directed towards contraction, but relaxation of muscles, tendons and ligaments of the back. They are stretching exercises (excellent PNF exercises really), not contraction ones.
• Maxick used light dumbbells in some of his exercises. The reason are clearly explained below in the same text. The key to success in scientific weightlifting is the correct sequence of lifting positions associated with contraction and relaxation of necessary muscle groups. Such positions only can be learned with a definite mental concentration over the muscles, but this concentration is impossible to achieve if you worry about lifting a very heavy dumbbell. Probably the use of light dumbbells along the whole range of motion was associated with the conscious tensing and relaxing of the muscles involved in the lift and I guess that this tension was intensified in critical points by means of specific functional isometric action by means of MC.
• Is amazing the agreement between all great old strongmen about the Maxick's ideas. Strong muscles cannot be really developed straining the body with heavy weights until failure. This deserves a deep reflection. Have we really advance so much in sport training from the golden age of great strongmen? Unfortunately no, all modern research has been direc-ted (apparently?) to the design of most effective drugs and to the quicker destruction of the champion bodies. For example, why has not training to failure been removed from Earth, if it is proved its dangerous effects over the health? Who is interested in sustaining such absurd practices? Why have we to explore texts almost 100 years old in order to learn correct training and dietetic habits? Too many worrying questions without clear answers.
• Strength is as important to health as endurance. But endurance is not based in the performance of hundreds of repetitions, it is founded in the care of internal organs. The endurance must be in the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys,...If you want to improve your endurance without raising the num¬ber of your exercises, you must try the Maxalding exercises directed to¬wards the thorax and the abdomen. Practise full tidal breathing through the nose all time and you will be amazed with the results. A definitive testi¬monial that supports the claims of Maxalding, "exercise with heavy weights is not necessary for muscular development". This is also the reas¬on by which some other systems based in the same training philosophy, like strongfortism, produces so good results. This same principle applies to bodyweight exercises, it is not necessary to perform too frequently ex¬tremely hard leverage feats like one handed one legged push-ups, one- legged squats, one armed pull-ups or handstands in order to achieve reasonable high strength levels. In this respect, an historical analysis can reveal us a very interesting conclusion. The bodyweight leverage exer¬cises contained in the original Maxalding book and in the oldest courses can be rated as easy (the most demanding ones are simply MC squats and push-ups), except the exercise PP, considered a final test of strength and control with the advice of performing it only once or twice. However, the number of MC exercises was relatively high. In later years, under the guidance of Court Saldo, Maxalding courses evolved towards harder bodyweight exercises with a noticeable reduction of MC exercises. Which was the reason of this change? Did the faith on MC decrease? I think no. Court Saldo sustained an heroic defence of MC, but in a progressively quicker and stressing world people look for quicker results than can be generated by means of MC. Today people generally have not enough pa¬tience to learn MC, and MC is a very difficult art to learn alone indeed. An¬other important problem for Court Saldo was probably the changes in the aesthetic model of bodybuilding. The people demanded unrealistic and quick increases in bulk. Maxalding is a natural method unable (only in muscle volume, not in pure strength) to compete with the chemically en¬hanced bodybuilders of today. Court Saldo was forced somewhat to in¬crease the amount of resistance via harder leverage exercises instead the original MC exercises, less risky and more productive in the future, but considerably more difficult to learn for people saturated with "until failure" burning techniques. Unfortunately, Maxalding is not attractive because MC does not produce muscle fatigue in the accepted sense.
• A deep knowledge of the own body and its physiology is necessary in or¬der to excel at any sport. This does not implies that everybody must be a MD, but everybody must know what is good for him or her, because each individual requires a personalized training depending on his or her needs and preferences.
• Physical perfection with a perfect health is a long way which does not ad¬mit any shorter path to go. Discipline, fidelity to reasonable training and moral principles and mental control are necessary in order to achieve ex¬cellence.
• "Nothing new under the sun". The same hypes that are present now des¬troying youth energies, were present 100 years ago. Apparently, there has been little improvement in Physical Culture from Grimek to now.
• You must believe in your own possibilities. As Maxick said, strength is mainly a mental attitude and a state of consciousness.
W.A. Pullum was a legendary weightlifter and close friend of Aston, Monte Saldo and Maxick. Here is his accurate point of view about Maxick's training (I recommend the reading of the whole article).
The Maxick and Saldo alliance - with the new and novel system that it produced - put the use of weights into somewhat different perspective. It employed them simply to demonstrate what sheer power could be built up as the necessitous factor for lifting them by the practice of exercises in which weights themselves played no part. It was a revolutionary theory at the time, but the two principals proved it to be more than just a theory by what they did. Maxick lifted poundages far above anything that had been done by any man of his bodyweight before. Saldo, although a veteran who had giv¬en up the practice of heavy lifting for years, after a short preparation via the "Maxald¬ing" method, swung a dumbbell exceeding the poundage of his own bodyweight with one hand. It was an official world record at the time and the very first instance of this particular feat ever being done. It was performed at a big professional tourna¬ment run at Camberwell in the year 1912.
Maxick and Saldo were frequent visitors of my establishment, both being vicepresid- ents of the club. I had many opportunities, therefore, of witnessing what they could do in the weightlifting line when they were successfully prevailed upon to manifest this. Which, I may add,was not always for so a high standard did they set themselves that neither would consent to perform unless feeling up to that degree of achievement.
I remember one occasion well and the investing circumstances which will serve to il¬lustrate how really little Maxick touched weights, yet how impressively he could per¬form notwithstanding. It was a summer afternoon and Max and Monte were paying an unexpected call. They went upstairs first to see Aston (who was then renting the upper floors of 5 Church Street for his offices), then all three came down to see me. In a short while we repaired to the club room, where Aston and myself proposed to do a spot of training. Asking Monte how Max was shaping, the latter replied that he should be in good form as he hadn't touched a weight for at least 6 weeks. I put it to Max, therefore, that he should come on to the platform, too, and give us a show. He was re¬luctant to do this at first but eventually agreed. Without removing any part of his cloth¬ing, he took 300 lb to the chest, with two hands and jerked it overhead without moving his feet in the slightest. He then took a 200 lb barbell from the floor to the shoulder with his right hand and jerked it overhead 6 times in succession - again without moving his feet. Disdaining customary standard technique, he "muscle-controlled" the weights up!
(WEIGHTS ARE GREAT!,W. A. PULLUM)
The text is so clear that it does not need any additional comment. It confirms our ideas about Maxalding. But Pullum did not limit to express his admiration for Maxick.
He rated Maxalding as one of most scientific and productive Physical Culture methods.
In the case of Max Sick, however, when he gave "muscle-control" to the world (as he chose to interpret the term), he was, without question, presenting something en¬tirely new. And when, with the assistance of Monte Saldo, this unique cult was ampli-fied to a degree which made it a proven complete and ultrascientific method of physic¬al culture, something else equally new had come before the PC public.
Pullum emphasized also the human qualities of Maxick, as excellent as his strength abilities.
When Max Sick's story was given to the world, it was discovered that he held other qualifications than those which he had so sensationally demonstrated under the foster¬ing and guiding hand of Monte Saldo. He was a superb gymnast and hand balancer; he was, as a teacher, most highly talented; he was learned in the field of philosophy; also a much-talented and cultured man. To crown all, he was as modest as he was great, possessing a charming personality into the bargain.
(SOMETHING REALLY NEW!, W. A. PULLUM)
The real fact is that all people who knew Maxick personally affirmed that his MC and his muscle quality were unbeatable.
Have you any doubt yet about the possibility of developing great strength and muscle with MC? Read this quotation from Pullum.
[...] see also another contribution to this pattern make history by presenting a new and sensational method of strength and bodily development,this being via the art and science of muscle-control!
Perhaps you could think that all these favourable testimonials towards MC and Maxalding are due to the friendship of the authors with Maxick and Monte Saldo. We can find similar opinions some years later, when the art of MC was almost forgotten and more (seemingly) scientific training methods had imposed.
Maxick, as he was better known, was a great friend of my father, the late W. A. Pul- lum, and I well remember seeing him on numerous occasions, a great many years ago, at Camberwell.
Maxick, in conjunction with Monte Saldo, was responsible for the creation of the wonderful muscle control system known as Maxalding, and as readers know, this sys¬tem of P.C. is still successfully being taught by Court Saldo, the son of Monte.
In his day Maxick was a marvellous lifter, but he is better famed for his introduction of muscle control to this country where it proved a great sensation. His great powers of lifting and superb physique he attributed to his practice of muscle control,and his sys¬tem aroused interest amongst the medical profession, who investigating, found the claims made on his behalf proved up to the hilt.
(ANOTHER IMMORTAL PASSES, W. S. PULLUM)
In spite of the irrefutable testimonials and facts, many people insist nowadays on the claims of Maxalding being an impossible goal. The real thing was that Maxick had something special. This "mysterious" factor could not be genetic, because he was a very ill child, or dietetic, because he ate far less food than or¬dinary people, or based in any secret appliance, because he used scarcely any apparatus for his daily training. The logical conclusion is clear, the only possible differentiating factor had to be the regular use of MC from childhood.
In his days Court Saldo was asked about this very same question and this was his very clever, objective and accurate answer.
Was Maxick a muscle controller or a lifter first?
In Maxick's own story of his early life he told us how, when a boy, he was prevented from taking part in sport or weightlifting (...) by his parents. But in the seclusion of his room he would through the motion of lifting imaginary weights, tensing his body and contracting his muscles as though actually undergoing physical exertion. Gradually he
found that he could contract muscles singly (isolate them) and his body began to de¬velop.
But it was not until later in his life that he discovered all the muscle control exercises as we know them today.
When he did eventually have the opportunity of joining his local athletic club he found that his controlled muscles put him far ahead of the other members and applying this same concentration and control to actual lifting he soon became champion of the club; then champion of the area; later champion of Germany, and eventually the strongest man of his weight in the world.
So Maxick was a muscle controller first, although the terms "muscle control", "ab¬dominal isolations", "scapula expansion", etc., etc., were all coined by the writer's fath¬er (Monte Saldo) after Maxick had come to this country in 1909.
Would Maxick have been as strong without the use of weights?
To be a champion lifter one has to acquire certain physical and psychological qualit¬ies not purely connected with muscular strength. There has to be certain adjustments to the nervous system; the "overhead balance sense" must be acquired; the personal knowledge of one's strength that can only come from the "feel" of the weights and oth¬er things such as confidence, temperament and technique must be added. Just a mu¬sical genius with the most perfect hands in the world could not become an instrument-alist without applying himself to an instrument, so a man of great strength could never become a champion lifter without some use of the weights. But Maxick probably handled weights far less frequently than any other world's champion, just as he ate far less food than the average man.
Maxick's gymnastic ability was as great as his lifting ability and it can been readily understood that a man of 147 lb. Bodyweight who could Continental Jerk 322 lb., Clean and Jerk 232 lb. with one hand, as well as Press 250 lb., could handle his own bodyweight in the Herculean balances with ridiculous ease.
(THE WHY AND HOW OF MUSCLE CONTROL, PART THREE, COURT SALDO)
2.3. Visualization techniques
A very important component of MC training is the conscious use of mental re¬inforcement and visualization techniques in order to achieve the desired results. Maxick is very clear in this respect.
There was for me only one thought and one desire - to become strong - and everything else had to bow before this unconditional goal. My last thought before fall¬ing asleep was the wish for development of strength. In my dreams I saw myself as an athlete. Each new day began with the fervent hope that the next one would find me making physical progress towards my objective.
Now please do not lift up your arms in despair and assume that this was a kind of monomania. Bear in mind that is the absence of this constructive mental attitude and spirit of determination that makes it impossible for innumerable men to derive satisfact¬ory progress in their physical training activities.
He who wants to scale to the top of an art or activity must pay the full price for this, and the full price is absolute devotion to the cause. The essence of this devotion lies in the full attention in the carrying out of the exercises combined with the certainty that success must come as the consequence of the natural law of the foundations we lay by conscious training. In addition, perseverance in carrying out a training program is of transcendental importance.
For beginners the constant use of a mirror may be somewhat harmful since we see in it only our present physical condition and run the risk of being discouraged that we will not attain the desired goal. If you look at yourself in a mirror every now and then you will be pleasantly surprised by the progress in your development and you will re¬ceive a new impulse to carry on. In my youth the use of closet mirrors was not as com¬mon as today and when I once was curious to see the development of my upper arm in the mirror I was obliged to stand on my tiptoes to see the desired object.
It is known that everything men have created has first been shaped and imagined in the idea and in thoughts. The strength, however, which is necessary for materialization of a thought is the intensity with which we inspire that thought and with which we finally mold it into a form perceptible to the senses. We express therefore figuratively speak¬ing only what we have imagined with sufficient plasticity and intensity. If, therefore, at¬tention is the means of inspiring a thought there can be no question that the materializ¬ation of the thought and desire of personal strength development must reside in the steady preserving of the required attention and inner purpose.
This mental law of the material correspondence of psychological desire is an everactive operating force in our everyday life.[...]
In my own development the most rigorous body training has steadily gone hand in hand with the persistent belief in the materialization of my desires. It is my firm convic¬tion that bodies by nature underprivileged or weakened by disease are capable through practice inspired by the wish for strengthening to progress to the stage of be¬ing capable of worthy athletic achievements. This has proved to be particularly true in weight lifting.
I have been able to make the observation that ability of achievement acquired the hard way against obstacles is often more durable and constant than when it is made possible through natural endowments.[...]
It must, therefore, be made clear to everyone that strength in its essence is a condition of conciousness and that all exercises are mere means. However, just as you require scales to control the material weight of an object so the mentally training ath¬lete when weight lifting can measure the quality and strength of his muscles.f...]
Indeed, the essence of strength does not lie in the muscles but in thought just as the strength of a locomotive can only be found in the steam and not in the wheels.
Following the great Maxick's ideas, I'll try to explain how we can apply this so important visualization techniques in a Maxalding training. These are a few gen¬eral rules.
• Take a positive attitude towards yourself and try to imagine a realistic and optimistic physique for you.
• Sometimes, specially in first stages of training, the result are slow or you simply cannot know how would be a "perfect physique" for you. In this case, imagine yourself as Maxick, for example, and try to emulate him.
• Always remember that you are unique, you must looking for your own per¬fection. Although you can use the Maxick's pictures for inspiration, you are different. Feel proud of your achievements and never become depressed by the fact that you are not like some other person.
• Believe in your dreams, if they are good for you. Perhaps you never will be able to achieve them, but many times in the way to an (apparently) im¬possible success we discover more important things than those which ap¬peared in our original thoughts.
• There is a principal objective in Physical Culture, perfect health. Never abandon this goal persuaded by quicker and dangerous results.
• Don't use the mirror too much. Try to imagine yourself like you want to be under your present skin. Feel your body, learn from it and teach it how it should be.
• Persevere in your training. Practice until you be a master in each control, each movement, each thought of your body and your mind.
• Try to control yourself in all your daily actions and thoughts. Reflect on every thought you have and try to not overwhelm.
• Be patient, very patient. All important things demand its own time. But don't be a conformist, exert yourself.
• Observe the little details, because if you can do this, you will be able to face up to great aims.
And now, some more specific visualization techniques for MC.
• Concentrate in your breathing instead time. Try to breath slowly and with the same rate during contraction and relaxation. Think as nothing could turn away your desired goal.
• Hold your concentration in every moment, relax does not consist in allow¬ing the mind freely wander! Relaxation in Maxalding is not a passive atti¬tude or a state near sleep, is a very active state of alert of the mind that prevents certain body parts to spend energy.
• Try to identify your own energy and differentiate its origin: nervous, thermal, mechanical,...
• Concentrate in the flow of heat that the contraction of a muscle group pro¬duces and try to increase its effect mentally.
• Study carefully a chart of muscles in the body and imagine each muscle as a perfect unity during the contraction.
• Tense your muscles very slowly feeling each part of the anatomy, each fibre and direct all your thoughts to them. Relax very slowly too.
• Count the contraction and relaxation times with your own breathing rate. Do not force breathing in any case.
• Try to imagine how each breath is contributing to replenish you of energy, how the oxygen flow is directed towards the contracted muscle.
• Try to feel and imagine how your relaxed muscles grow during rest. Al¬ways go to bed with the firm belief that tomorrow you will be better and stronger.
• Avoid boredom, it will be your worst enemy. Enjoy with each control and exercise. Try to excel yourself in every action.
• Never allow to be tempted by the idea that you are already a master in MC, exert yourself in each control, you can always increase your concen¬tration a little bit.
2.4. The importance of individual training
Health, self confidence, strength and well being are the key goals of Maxald- ing.
MC benefits the mind ("will power") as much as the muscles. But there are not general rules to success, each individual must find his or her own way. Maxalding is not a closed system, is a propedeutic science, a way without end, because, fortunately, perfection is not a definite point, but a continuous search and effort.
Because Maxalding can be considered a mean for an integral personal de¬velopment, it exceeds the field of Physical Culture to became an art, a philo¬sophy and a lifestyle.
The ability to voluntarily contract or relax any muscle in the body is not a final goal in itself for a serious maxaldist, it is only a mean to achieve personal per¬fection in the physical sense. MC must be combined with a serious mental train¬ing and intellectual work for complete success. The external forces cannot pro¬duce an state of perfection without the action of the most important inner force, our mind.
This Will, this self within me, should be used to develop my body just as it had been used to develop my brain. Just as I can only learn by actual application of my mind, so can my body only be brought to a state of perfection and into a condition of usefulness through the close employment of my mind!
Many professors have come forward with the advice to "put your mind on the muscles", but I venture to express the opinion that this saying is only reminiscent of school days, and probably one of the pet phrases of schoolmasters; but to use the mind as apparatus in a new phase in the physical culture world, and I have no fear in saying that my discovery will stand alone as the only true method of gaining control of the muscular system, and through the will, control of self.
Before a man can command success he must control himself, and before he can at¬tain to the limit of his physical powers and come into a realization of his possibilities as an animal, he must be strong mentally and physically.
(How TO BECAME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK)
The application of MC to the development of strength generates a feedback process between the body and the mind that reinforces the will as much the muscles and internal organs. This is known in Medicine, but unfortunately people prefer to use more comfortable means to achieve some results. Today there is a revision of MC methods, in a very limited sense only directed to limb rehabilitation, via a computer scan of myoelectric signals of the muscles im¬plied. The patient can see how his voluntary contraction of a muscle increases the signals shown by the computer and tries to control them. This method is very expensive and creates an artificial dependence on the instruments used. Besides, a computer display can never replace the actual feeling of a controlled muscle. With Maxalding you learn how to control your muscles and your mind in every situation. The mental control on the body produces a relaxing state and a sense of self confidence which help us to face up other difficulties no related with physical culture.
The self confidence conducts to a stronger personality and this reveals us our individuality in a clearer form.
The Maxick-Saldo System of Physical Culture is the outcome of years of practical study, research and experiment, and it is not a free-movement System.
Being based upon the latest discoveries in physiological and psychological science it admits an element unknown in any other System, i.e., the Mind. The application of the subjective mental faculties, which is essential to the attainment of any mental know¬ledge whatsoever, is equally necessary whether improvement of the Physique,the ac¬quisition of Health, or increase in Strength be desired.
It is the only System wherein the individuality of the pupil is permitted to have any part. The absence of other apparatus than the mind assures this. The mind directs the effort, and according to the quality of the motive force, so the Physical improvement is determined.
The strongest part of a man is his individuality; and instead of allowing him to sub¬jugate this by advising the employment of external apparatus, we assist him to use his power to the attainment of the Physical condition he desires.
(HEALTH, STRENGTH AND WILL POWER, MAXICK AND MONTE SALDO)
From the point of view of the Maxalding teacher, all training must be carefully personalized.
By studying his case, we are enabled to judge of his adaptability to apply himself to the task in hand, and to direct these powers to his own good. At the same time we can ascertain wherein lies, not only his Physical, but his Mental lack of Control.
In order to achieve this goal, the teacher have to plan a graduated series of exercises for each individual, because the mastery of MC is not an easy thing.
By a carefully graduated series of exercises, most of which cannot be performed without diligent application of the mind, we bring out the best powers of the mental and physical functions.
(HEALTH, STRENGTH AND WILL POWER, Maxick and Monte Saldo)
Court Saldo advised on the dangers of no personalized methods.
Each person must be a law unto him or herself, and that law must be a logical and a natural one. No cut-and-dried system however excellent, can bring identical results to two persons; and often which has been proved beneficial to one person has proved the reverse to another, and I ask you to keep that fact in mind throughout the perusal of this treatise.
(MAXALDING BROCHURE, 1960, COURT SALDO)
2.5. The key to success, absence of boredom
Anything to which we apply the activity of our minds is bound to have more substan¬tial, durable and far-reaching effects upon us, than that which comes us unsought, and we accept passively.
The effort expended in the attainment of any mental or physical good has in itself built up a power which mere passivity will never achieve. Therefore our System is pre¬eminently the one to be chosen by the intending student, inasmuch as genuine efforts must to be put forth to learn the exercises.
Among the many great advantages, which would take many pages to explain effec¬tually - on account of their relation to the psychological elements of our existence - the absence of monotony should commend itself most forcibly. Nature's antipathy to monotony, depicted in the variety of all around us, is no less strongly established in the mind of man; and this fact has not been forgotten in building up our System. The many who turn to Physical Culture as a recreation and a relaxation from the exigences and turmoil of modern life make this a necessity; for it is essential that there be an interest, apart from the physical exertion involved; something which would call forth other powers of the mind than those used in carrying out the daily duties. It is in this gradual drawing out of the various branches of the mind, which the correct performance of the exercises necessitates, the sense of time, of posture, and many other qualities,that this recreation finds place. True recreation should help one in the work of the day, by storing up a plenitude of physical and mental energy, and this is what we claim a treat¬ment under us will accomplish.
(HEALTH, STRENGTH AND WILL POWER, MAXICK AND MONTE SALDO)
The avoiding of boredom and monotony is one of the reasons of the low number of repetitions of each exercise in Maxalding. High repetition systems force you to keep your mind in the counting of performances and not in the ex¬ercise itself. The application of MC to exercise, the high mental concentration and the low number of repetitions permit us to use all our potential and will power.
2.6. The mental way to super MC
To resume, control teaches you where to pull and where to press; using the various salient points of the bone as fulcra, and the muscles and the joints as levers. Even the tendons become plastic and pliable, and will lose the toughness which many years' wrong exercising has caused.
Even the air pressure is used to assist in a certain relaxed contraction.
Then comes the awakening of a sympathy between the brain and the muscles, which is marked in the beginning, by a greater clarity of mental power,and increased responsive power on the part of the muscles. Then as the circulation of the blood, the organs of digestion, elimination and respiration become subjective to the will, you have gained the power of keeping absolutely healthy and fit, without any inconvenience or apparatus.
(HEALTH, STRENGTH AND WILL POWER, MAXICK AND MONTE SALDO)
2.7. Maxalding as a mental attitude and lifestyle
The energies must be deliberately conserved. Uniform bodily warmth is the first rule of energy conservation. The art of voluntary relaxation is the second. This relaxation must first be physical through mental application and then mental when complete bod¬ily composture has been secured or attained. Make a habit of taking things quietly. Do not allow jumpy people to disturb you. There are many such people all over the place who seem to take a delight in bothering people. Just let them jump, unless there are people with whom you have to live or for whom you have a genuine regard, in which case, the advice given herewith might profitably be handed on.
(MAXALDING, MONTE SALDO)
The importance of mental attitude for maxaldist's success is clearly stated by Monte Saldo in this "final word".
Don't worry. Worry is reputed to have robbed a cat of its nine lives,which fact is not particularly lamentable as the supply of cats is usually well up to demand; more prom¬inently perhaps in the small hours. But the saying is apposite enough to make one realise the danger as well as the futility of worry. If anything is causing you worry that can be remedied, work night and day, if necessary to remove it. If the cause cannot be remedied or removed, what is the use of worrying?
Very wise words, indeed. You can observe the Monte Saldo's fine sense of humour. Both Maxick and Saldo were very friendly and talented men, much ad¬mired and beloved. This little charming story is very representative of this.
Nature, when she endowed Max Sick with his remarkable physique, threw in with it a very attractive smile. It lit up his countenance every time he made an attempt upon a lift, and it softened into tenderness once or twice when Monte Saldo's pretty flaxen haired daughter (aged three) insisted on walking up to him as he was resting and de¬manded a kiss.
Unfortunately, both Maxick and Monte Saldo (especially, Monte) had to suffer family tragedies. Monte Saldo lost his wife and one son. His charming daughter and himself were severely injured during a WWII bombing. I have not found any information about Maxick's family, except this.
We are informed that Max Sick was cremated on the 13th of May and his only living daughter scattered his ashes at the seaside as her father loved navigation dearly. Thus another superman takes his place in the Vallhalla of Strongmen. Not only was he a great athlete, he was a widely educated man and a great thinker.
We can infer from this text that Maxick was married and had several sons or daughters, but his wife and his sons died before him. We can imagine the in¬tense suffering that these deaths should cause in such a family men as Maxick.
They were real models for us in every aspect of life. Their strength of spirit and the practice of Maxalding kept them alive in spite of great difficulties.
2.8. Spiritual benefits of Maxalding
The feeling of mind over matter control that Maxalding produces, permits a deeper connection between our spirit and body. The control of the body and the reinforcement of will-power help us to face up clearly some questions. Most im¬portant of all, the scientific study of MC complements perfectly with a rich spir¬itual life and proves you that mind and matter can form a perfect and beneficial unity. In fact, the Maxick's main interest was Philosophy. In words of many people, Maxick was a great thinker. His mind was as strong as his body. We need only to read his last words, written for all of us just before passing away, in order to admire his clarity and depth of thought.
I only meet him again after his death.
He was lying on the floor of his room on his back with his hands stretched out. Un¬der his right heel we found a slip of paper with his last remarks. It read:
"May 10th, 1961, 22 hours; my heart is beating rather slow, I feel extremely cold, I think it will be over soon. Remember the infinite is our inner freedom manifested through our consciousness".
Max Sick mastered his body and his five senses till the last moment and lived up to his idea not to lose control even during the last minutes of life.
This spiritual magnanimity was always closely related with an irreproachable moral attitude. Maxick was against the intervention of Germany in WWI, intern¬ing himself voluntarily in Britain, and demonstrated many times his complete re¬jection to the Nazis, even when many people in Europe did not considered them a threat.
This text reveals us a man who faced up death with hope and firmness. A free mind in a free body, a freedom, indeed, a will power that cannot disappear and projects itself into the infinite.
Maxick was in the line of thought of another great philosophers, like Kierkegard, for whom freedom, our existence, is our most radical attribute. The essence of our lives is the eternal finding of a correct use of freedom.
Our conciousness is the manifestation of our deepest decisions and choices.
A complete free mind in absolute control is the way to the infinite. All of us can be an infinite, we must only believe in the possibility of being better, physically, mentally, morally and spiritually.
Because of this, Maxalding, his lifestyle, is mostly compatible with any belief or religion that pursues the complete dignity of the human being.
I'm personally catholic, atomic physicist and philosopher. Maxalding has helped me in many ways, because when you discover your own control limits and try to overcome them, you see the world from another more precious per¬spective. All of us are infinites and we must deal with all as such, with dignity and love.
Maxick and Saldo helped many people to be healthier and, most important, happier. They deserve our eternal debt of gratitude.
3. Muscle control techniques and exercises
3.1. Voluntary muscle contraction
The muscles are used to produce movement by the animals.
The energy to generate movement comes from complex chemical processes in which ATP has a very important role.
In vertebrate animals there are three kinds of muscles:
1. Heart muscle or cardiac muscle. Makes up the wall of the heart. It con¬tracts almost involuntarily at a rate of approximately 70 beats per min.
2. Smooth muscle. Is present in the walls of the internal (hollow) organs of the body, except the heart. This muscles are generally not under control, but you can achieve a certain degree of control over them.
3. Skeletal or striated muscle. Is the muscle attached to the bones. It is (must be) generally under control.
We shall study in first place the skeletal muscle, because it is naturally pre¬pared to voluntary control.
A single striated muscle is attached at
• Origin, that is a large portion of bone.
• Insertion. It is the other end of the muscle. The junction is formed by a white tendon, attached to another bone.
There are two basic types of muscles, extensors and flexors. The reason for this is that a muscle only exerts force when it is contracted and it is necessary a pair of muscles for each joint, one that extends it and another one that bends it.
This classification is fundamental for muscle control (MC), because in the ap¬plication of MC to dynamic exercises (with motion) the relaxation of antagonistic muscles with respect to those which produce the movement is extremely im¬portant.
The striated muscle is composed of thousands of cylindrical muscle fibres. The fibres are bound together by connective tissue through which run blood vessels and nerves.
The muscle fibre are formed by the following microscopic structures.
• Myofibrils, packed in an array of the same length than the fibre.
• Mitochondria, they are the energetic factories of the muscle cells.
• Endoplasmic reticulum, which is very extensive in this type of cells.
• Many nuclei. It is a characteristic property of muscle cells. This is due to the fact that each muscle fibre is formed from the fusion of many muscle cells, called myoblasts.
The number of muscle fibres is probably fixed by our genetics. Because of this the increases in strength and mass comes from the increases in the thick¬ness of the muscle fibres and an enlargement of the connective tissue.
Each muscle fibre can be divided in a number of parts for its study.
1. Sarcolemma. Plasma membrane.
2. Sarcoplasmatic reticulum. Endoplasmatic reticulum.
3. Sarcosome. Mitochondrion.
4. Sarcoplasm. Cytoplasm.
The nuclei and mitochondria are located just beneath the plasma membrane, but the endoplasmic reticulum extends between the myofibrils.
The striated appearance of the muscle fibre is created by a pattern of altern¬ating dark A bands and
• Light I bands.
• The A bands are bisected by the H zone.
• The I bands are bisected by the Z line.
Each myofibril is made up of arrays of parallel filaments.
• The thick filaments have a diameter of about 15 nm (1 nm = 10-9 m). They are composed of the protein myosin.
• The thin filaments have a diameter of about 5 nm. They are composed mainly of the protein actin along with smaller amounts of two other pro¬teins:
• troponin and
The microscopic view of muscle fibres reveals a structure formed by two ver¬tical lines (called Z lines) and alternating dark (A band) and light (I band) zones.
• The thick filaments produce the dark A band.
• The thin filaments extend in each direction from the Z line. Where they do not overlap the thick filaments, they create the light I band.
• The H zone is that portion of the A band where the thick and thin filaments do not overlap.
The sarcomer is the entire array of thick and thin filaments between the Z lines. When the sarcomeres shorten in a myofibril, they produce the shortening of the myofibril and, in turn, of the muscle fibre of which it is a part.
The contraction of skeletal muscle is directed by the nervous system.
In this respect, skeletal muscle differs from smooth and cardiac muscle. Both cardiac and smooth muscle can contract without being directly stimulated by the nervous system. They have their own control mechanisms.
The junction between the terminal of a motor neuron and a muscle fibre is called the neuromuscular junction. It is simply one kind of synapse. The neur¬omuscular junction is also called the myoneural junction.
The terminals of motor axons contain thousands of vesicles filled with acet¬ylcholine (Ach).
If an action potential reaches the axon terminal, hundreds of these vesicles discharge their ACh onto a specialized area of postsynaptic membrane on the fibre. This area contains a cluster of transmembrane channels that are opened by ACh and let sodium ions (Na+) diffuse in.
The interior of a resting muscle fibre has a resting potential of about -95 mV. The influx of sodium ions reduces the charge, creating an end plate potential. If the end plate potential reaches the threshold voltage (approximately -50 mV), sodium ions flow in with a rush and an action potential is created in the fibre. The action potential sweeps down the length of the fibre just as it does in an ax¬on.
During some period of time, no visible change occurs in the muscle fibre dur¬ing (and immediately following) the action potential. This period, called the lat¬ent period, lasts from 3-10 msec.
Before the latent period is over,
• the enzyme acetylcholinesterase breaks down the ACh in the neuromus¬cular junction (at a speed of 25,000 molecules per second), the sodium channels close, and the field is cleared for the arrival of another nerve im-pulse.
• the resting potential of the fibre is restored by an outflow of potassium ions.
The brief (1-2 msec) period needed to restore the resting potential is called the refractory period.
The process of contracting takes some 50 msec; relaxation of the fibre takes another 50-100 msec. Because the refractory period is so much shorter than the time needed for contraction and relaxation, the fibre can be maintained in the contracted state so long as it is stimulated frequently enough (e.g., 50 stim¬uli per second). Such sustained contraction is called tetanus.
As we normally use our muscles, the individual fibres go into tetanus for brief periods rather than simply undergoing single twitches.
Each molecule of myosin in the thick filaments contains a globular subunit called the myosin head. The myosin heads have binding sites for the actin mo¬lecules in the thin filaments and ATP.
Activation of the muscle fibre causes the myosin heads to bind to actin. A change occurs which draws the thin filament a short distance (~10 nm) past the thick filament. Then the linkages break (for which ATP is needed) and reform farther along the thin filament to repeat the process. As a result, the filaments are pulled past each other in a ratchetlike action. There is no shortening, thick-ening, or folding of the individual filaments.
Electron microscopy supports this model.
As a muscle contracts,
• the Z lines come closer together
• the width of the I bands decreases
• the width of the H zones decreases, but
• there is no change in the width of the A band.
Conversely, as a muscle is stretched,
• the width of the I bands and H zones increases,
• but there is still no change in the width of the A band.
Calcium ions (Ca2+) link action potentials in a muscle fibre to contraction.
• In resting muscle fibres, Ca2+ is stored in the endoplasmic (sarcoplasmic) reticulum.
• Spaced along the plasma membrane (sarcolemma) of the muscle fibre are in pocketings of the membrane that form tubules of the "T system". These tubules plunge repeatedly into the interior of the fibre.
• The tubules of the T system terminate near the calcium-filled sacs of the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
• Each action potential created at the neuromuscular junction sweeps quickly along the sarcolemma and is carried into the T system.
• The arrival of the action potential at the ends of the T system triggers the
release of Ca2+.
• The Ca2+ diffuses among the thick and thin filaments where it
• binds to troponin on the thin filaments.
• This turns on the interaction between actin and myosin and the sarcomere contracts.
• Because of the speed of the action potential (milliseconds), the action po¬tential arrives virtually simultaneously at the ends of all the tubules of the T system, ensuring that all sarcomeres contract in unison.
• When the process is over, the calcium is pumped back into the sarcoplas¬mic reticulum using a Ca2+ ATPase.
If a stimulated muscle is held so that it cannot shorten, it simply exerts ten¬sion. This is called an isometric ("same length") contraction. If the muscle is al¬lowed to shorten, the contraction is called isotonic ("same tension").
All motor neurons leading to skeletal muscles have branching axons, each of which terminates in a neuromuscular junction with a single muscle fibre. Nerve impulses passing down a single motor neuron will thus trigger contraction in all the muscle fibres at which the branches of that neuron terminate. This minimum unit of contraction is called the motor unit.
The size of the motor unit is small in muscles over which we have precise control. Examples:
• A single motor neuron triggers fewer than 10 fibres in the muscles con¬trolling eye movements.
• The motor units of the muscles controlling the larynx are as small as 2-3 fibres per motor neuron.
• In contrast, a single motor unit for a muscle like the gastrocnemius (calf) muscle may include 1000-2000 fibres (scattered uniformly through the muscle).
This is an interesting observation for the development of MC.
Although the response of a motor unit is all-or-none, the strength of the re¬sponse of the entire muscle is determined by the number of motor units activ¬ated.
This is the reason by which MC is so important. We must optimize the num¬ber of motor units that we are able to activate it we want to achieve extreme performances in any sport.
Even at rest, most of our skeletal muscles are in a state of partial contraction called tonus. Tonus is maintained by the activation of a few motor units at all times even in resting muscle. As one set of motor units relaxes, another set
69 Philosophy, Science and Practice of Maxalding takes over.
Two different types of muscle fibre can be found in most skeletal muscles. The Type I and Type II fibres differ in their structure and biochemistry.
Type I fibres:
• Loaded with mitochondria and
• Depend on cellular respiration for ATP production.
• Resistant to fatigue.
• Rich in myoglobin and hence red in color.
• Activated by small-diameter, thus slow-conducting, motor neurons.
• Also known as "slow-twitch" fibres.
• Dominant in muscles that depend on tonus, e.g., those responsible for posture.
Type II fibres:
• Few mitochondria.
• Rich in glycogen and depend on glycolisis for ATP production.
• Fatigue easily because of the buildup of lactic acid during glycolysis.
• Low in myoglobin hence whitish in color.
• Activated by large-diameter, thus fast-conducting, motor neurons.
• Also known as "fast-twitch" fibres.
• Dominant in muscles used for rapid movement.
Most skeletal muscles contain some mixture of Type I and Type II fibres, but a single motor unit always contains one type or the other, never both.
3.2. Voluntary muscle relaxation
The muscles have always a permanent state of contraction, called tonus, in every moment, including sleep.
One of the purposes of muscle control (MC) is the reduction of the level of in¬voluntary contraction to a minimal degree.
The fundamental processes to achieve complete relaxation are based in the comparison between the contracted state and the relaxed state in every muscle.
As a result, deep and controlled relaxation can only be learned through indi¬vidual MC.
Figure 17. Maxick in a perfectly relaxed pose. The relaxation is best observed in the abdominal area.
3.3. General methods to attain MC
We can define MC as the ability to contract and relax voluntarily isolated muscles irrespective of the state of motion of the controlled muscles.
The key ideas of MC are:
1. Ability to contract a muscle. Some muscles are in positions very difficult to work by mere mechanical means, for example, the serratus magnus.
2. Ability to relax a muscle. Some muscles are stabilizers and, as a result, they are contracted almost all the time, for example, the muscles of the abdominal wall. The complete relaxing of abdominal muscles is a key ex-ercise in MC and one of the most important for a perfect health.
3. The contraction and relax must be voluntary. This implies that such ac¬tions should be performed and directed by an effort of the mind, without mechanical assistance, in advanced students of MC.
4. One common misconception about MC is that it reduces to a static series of contraction poses. On the contrary, MC teaches the complete control of each muscle or muscle group in every natural position of the body and it applies to real exercises with motion, with or without apparatus. This per¬mits the development of the energy conservation and distribution.
In order to achieve these goals, the student of MC has to learn a graduated series of exercises of increasing difficulty. Some muscles are more responsive, for example, the muscles of the limbs, than others. Because of this, there are different methods to learn MC. All of them are good, but some are more appro¬priate than others in each case. The student should test several methods in or¬der to discover the best for him or her.
The general methods of MC development are:
• Isometric self-resistance (ISR). The necessary resistance to feel the muscle contraction is provided by a manual opposition to the motion of a certain muscle group. Typical examples of this method are the vertical ab¬dominal isolations and the mobilization of shoulder blades.
• Dynamic self-resistance (DSR). Is the application of ISR to real motion. One part of the body moves against another along the range of motion of the first part.
• Antagonistic muscular resistance (AMR). In this case the resistance is provided by the simultaneous co-contraction of a agonistic-antagonistic pair of muscles. This method is the base of imaginary or internal resist-ance free-motion systems. This is a very valuable method for testing MC in motion, but it is not pure MC and it is not a goal in itself for a serious MC student, because it hinders the relaxation of the antagonistic muscle.
• Light dumbells (LD). This was one of the most used methods by old time strongmen, including Maxick. It provides a very easily contraction feeling over a large number of muscles. MC can be obtained trying to increase the power of the contraction by conscious mental concentration. Besides, light dumbbells combined with MC are an optimal method to train the muscles in motion under maximal tension without the dangers of heavy weights. You don't need expensive appliances, because the weight is only a mean to achieve real mental contraction. You can use a pair of bottles filled with sand, for example.
• Bodyweight leverage exercises (BL). These exercises are very appropri¬ate to work large muscle groups, to harmonize the motion of the whole body, to feel the muscular tension in situations of poor equilibrium and for general strengthening.
• Visualization and mental concentration (VMC). This is an extremely im¬portant technique, extensively studied in the Part 2 of this series of art¬icles. It must be combined with all others. This method develops the psy¬chological connection between the mind and the body. It fixes clear body images and objectives for the individual, avoiding monotony and boredom.
• Fine tune of muscle contraction and relaxation (FTMCR). Some muscles are extremely difficult to isolate (for example, the trapezius or the erector spinae). Besides, in extreme performances of MC, some portions of a cer¬tain muscle (for example, the two heads of the biceps, or the horizontal layers of the rectus abdominis), also can be isolated. In these cases, the most perfect position must be combined with a very slow and controlled tensing of the muscle. Such a slow contraction and relaxation allows the distinction of each muscle part inside an isolated muscle. This is a very advanced state of MC, but the student should try to apply it to the exer¬cises from the very beginning.
3.4. The secret for super strength development in Maxalding
The possibility of developing a great strength without appliances should be based in some smart application of the motion variables in exercise. These vari¬ables are:
• Tension (contractile force). This variable is not constant, it depends from one part of the body to another. For example, some muscles can be stim¬ulated with relatively light loads (trapezius, neck muscles, ...), but some others need relatively high stimuli to contract (leg muscles, ...). Besides, this tension can be applied by pushing or pulling or some combination of the two. In each case, the muscles can react in different forms. There is an open discussion about the similarities and differences between differ¬ent kinds of tension, commonly called isometric (contraction without mac¬roscopic motion), isotonic (accelerated contraction with macroscopic mo¬tion) and isocinetic (contraction without acceleration performed at the same speed along the range of motion). A lot of things have been written about these types of contraction and their applications to training. In fact, all of them form a sort of continuum because all imply microscopic motion of muscle fibres. Besides, there are many misconceptions in these con¬cepts from the point of view of a serious physicist. For example, many au¬thors define isocinetic motion affirming that it is done with "constant velo¬city". This is wrong, because in humans, the motion of joints produces variations in the angle of motion and, in consequence, the physical velo¬city changes with angle, producing centripetal acceleration and force. In this case, the speed (norm of the velocity) is not the only variable. Be¬cause of this, leverage exercises can produce huge amounts of physical load without heavy weights only varying the angle of motion, and the elev¬ation of the same weight by the same muscles produces very different tension depending on its relative position.
• Duration. The tensions can be generated quickly, slowly or in a graduated form. In some parts of the same exercise, it could be necessary to perform accelerated motions and in other parts you must sustain a nearly isometric effort. Even in the same part of the exercise, some muscles are isometric- ally contracted supporting the principal contribution to the equilibrium (sta¬bilizer muscles) and some other are moving quickly. With respect to dura¬tion, the results are not clear because we do not know some variables. Are the same muscle fibres contracting all the time when we apply them a long isometric tension? Has the same effect a long isometric contraction of low intensity than a short burst of high intensity tension? Which are the optimal times for strength, power, mass or endurance development? Which are the secondary effects of specific training times, for example, can develop endurance a strength training system? Probably, the same continuum principle apply here and concrete times can vary a lot from indi¬vidual to individual.
• Repetitions. A very considerable part of sports research has been directed towards the optimal number of series and repetitions for a specific task. I think that the importance of this factor is generally overestimated. You can develop extreme strength and endurance from a very reduced number of performances of the same exercise in one series. The reason for this overestimation can be found in the crazy search for maximal hypertrophy that prevail in bodybuilding circles. The old time strongmen looked for real strength and endurance and their ideal of physical perfection was nearer to classical proportions. They cared of their bodies and varied frequently the number of repetitions and sets depending on their energy. As a gener¬al rule, they established that 3 sets of 6 repetitions with good form of any appropriate exercise is sufficient for most purposes. In fact, Maxalding is the only training system that recommends the performance of only one set per exercise and very few repetitions. The reason will be shown later.
• Position (angle, extension and equilibrium). Generally, there are a lot of weak points in our anatomy. They are responsible for many of our physic¬al limitations. Because of this it is fundamental to reinforce these areas with specific exercises which work the muscles and the joints along every possible range of motion. One of the most severe misconceptions about MC and its applications to exercise, is the notion that MC is the same that peak contraction. Peak contraction is a very limited, and dangerous in some cases, form of exercise, because it produces a high blood conges¬tion in a contracted muscle in its most favourable position, generally at the end of the range of motion, with the joint fully flexed (muscle flexing). MC, however, pursues the strengthening and control of every muscle along the entire range of motion, specially it emphasizes the weakest links and posi¬tions. There are many proofs of this idea. Maxick himself advice to con¬tract several muscles in different positions in his book MUSCLE CONTROL.
• Frequency. Nowadays the most accepted trend for strength training is to work intensively (preferentially until failure) 1-3 times per week. The schedule of Maxalding is very different. The advice is to train every day, listening your own body and never until failure or excessive fatigue. The fi¬delity to a daily training schedule is extremely important for Maxick and Monte Saldo.
Once I commenced to train I was determined to continue to do so regularly. Not only were the muscle control exercises performed every evening but I indulged in some calisthenics in my unheated bedroom until, glowing and covered with perspiration, I fell into my bed ready for a sound slumber.
(YOU ARE AS STRONG AS YOU WISH TO BE, MAXICK)
When training and practising always use a schedule. Do not work promiscuously, because constant repetition is absolutely essential for attainment of great skill in any branch of sport.
(HOW TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK)
One of the temptations of a maxaldist is to believe that he masters com¬pletely MC. This is practically impossible, MC is an endless science and art. Try to perfect the controls every time you perform it. There are hundreds of pos¬sible isolations and thousands of combined controls. Feel every muscle fibre, every attached tendon or ligament, feel your nervous energy, try to control your internal organs, analyse every thought and sensation. Remember that you are an infinite. Explore this inner infinite in deeper and deeper ways. The self-con¬trol is the sure way to absolute freedom.
The great results achieved with the low number of repetitions prescribed in the Maxalding curses can be explained by a careful study of the original training methods of Maxick and Monte Saldo.
In a modern fashion, we can differentiate two main systems of training.
• Analytic muscle control (AMC). An isolated muscle or muscle group is contracted and relaxed in every possible position avoiding antagonistic in¬terferences of another muscles. The tension is generated via the FTMCR technique and analysed in little increments of the range of motion. This method is one of the best to reinforce concrete muscle actions in difficult positions and it is a fundamental system in order to master complete relax¬ation and energy distribution. For optimal results you must combine SMC (static muscle control) for 5-10 breathings with BMC (ballistic muscle con¬trol) for 10-30 quick (1 breath each, contract while you are exhaling and relax when you inhale), but concentrated, pulsations. Perform first SMC and after this, without rest, BMC for the same isolated muscle.
• Step-by-step (or strategic) muscle control with resistance (SMCR).This method is named from analogy with a step by step motor. The method is based in fixing securely every small portion of the motion involved in an exercise, performing it in an extremely slow form, teaching the body to feel the muscles that are really acting in each part of the movement. This is a very advanced technique and must be used very progressively. Intelli¬gently used, it is a perfectly safe method, much safer than weightlifting. Use very small loads (or none at first stages, a little stick would be suffi¬cient), the key is correct MC, and begin with a count of 1 breath per incre¬ment of the range of motion. If you feel excessive fatigue in some part of the exercise, relax for 5-10 breathings before going to another part of the motion. Increase the times in amounts of 1 breathing weekly if you are comfortable with this, if not, you must wait for another week to increase time.
There are two variations of the SMCR system:
• Contracting tension. You contract the muscles involved in the motion with additional voluntary MC.
• Relaxing tension. You try to relax all muscles in the body, including those that are working, as far as they can support properly the desired action. The purpose of this method is to teach the body how to optimize its re-serves of energy. Obviously, this method should not be used with any ex¬ercise which demands a lot of concentration and skill (for example, hand¬stands, bridges, ...).
Both methods can (and must) be combined, ideally in weekly cycles. Here are some examples of exercises performed with these techniques and testimo¬nials that prove its use by Maxick.
Consider a dumbbell swing performed with a light weight, but sufficient to tense the muscles. This is a typical general conditioning exercise which works almost every muscle in the body. Use only one arm each time, alternating them.
Raise the dumbbell in a step-by-step motor fashion, elevating the weight on very little increments of a few cm, keeping perfect form and position for a count of 1-10 breathings each depending on your capability.
A careful analysis of the tension sensation while you maintain the position re¬veals the contraction of the following muscles.
? Erector spinae.
? Muscles of the upper arm in elevated positions.
Try to intensify the contraction by means of MC. This is a clear application of contracting SMCR. With this method, a single repetition a day, correctly per¬formed, in addition to SMC and BMC exercises for all muscles is sufficient for developing high levels of strength and coordination in most cases. As a sug¬gestion, one single exercise can be 1-2 minutes long at least with this method.
You can apply instead the relaxing technique in the same form, but in this case, try to relax every muscle in the body as far as you begin to feel some diffi¬culties to raise the dumbbell. This would be an example of the relaxing SMCR.
Apparently "easy" bodyweight exercises can be turned in extreme feats of strength and endurance by means of these techniques. Think in push-ups and try to perform one repetition with contracting SMCR, you will discover a new di¬mension in non apparatus training.
The SMCR system has many advantages. For example, you do not need any expensive appliances for developing a top quality natural physique. A simple plastic bottle filled with sand and attached to a 1m stick can proportionate an awesome workout.
For maximum development I suggest the use of an Aston's antidumbbell. It is simple a weight of 1-5 kg (depending on your abilities) attached to a stick. You do not need to make it by yourself, an adjustable disc dumbbell with the weight attached only to one end is almost inexpensive and is perfect for our purposes. Perform general conditioning lifts, like the mentioned swing, with SMCR, grip¬ping the dumbbell from the free end, the most separated from the weight. In this way you can challenge all your body parts with a minimal chance of injury. If you don't like the intense grip of the antidumbbell, you can use a common dumbbell with similar efficiency.
A s film Jut IIICCJII fxcrctie.
Figure 18. Aston showing the use of his antidumbbell.
The use of the SMCR technique is endorsed by several references in Max¬alding writings. For example, the description of Exercise P of Maxalding says:
Tilt the weight of the body until it is supported mainly by the left arm... For great strength, perform a very slow repetitions. For speed, perform a few quick repetitions, almost bouncing the body from the ground.
This is common advice in most exercises. The combination of MC with specif¬ic sport training multiplies its effects.
Assume position shown in the Upper illustration.
Tilt the weight ol the body over until it supported mainly by the le(t arm.
Then during a deep inspiration ol the breath, press up as slowly a* possible until you rcach the position shown in the lower illustration.
Recover an even distribution of the weight on both arms, and lower quickly to the position shown in the upper illustration.
Repeat the whole cxcrcisc with the weight tilted aver until it is supported mainly by the right arm. and recover position of the upper illustration.
The above constitutes one performance ol exercise P.
For great strength, perform a few very slow repetitions.
For speed, perform a few quick repetition*, almost bouncing the body from the ground.
The body itself must be kept rigid, and not allowed to tag.
Figure 19. Monte Saldo performing a correct pushup. Note the added MC tension in the upper body, especially the triceps, and in both legs.
If you combine your ordinary training with the work of controlling the muscles you will attain a speed and strength in your sport that will surprise you.
(HOW TO BECAME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK)
The relaxing method is as important as the contracting one. In some cases the use of specific massages can be very helpful.
Gain control over all muscles of your body by intelligent application of the mind, and increase their suppleness and responsiveness by carefully kneading and manipulating any muscles that appear too hard when relaxed.
(HOW TO BECAME A GREAT ATHLETE, MAXICK)
(Exercise and illustration arc original And copyright, unci anyone infringing the copyright will be proceeded Again*! in the public interest].
The effect of MC over muscle tone is very remarkable. The relaxed muscles turn in a extremely soft state in touch. This produces a very pleasant sensation
79 Philosophy, Science and Practice of Maxalding and well being.
One of the most admired Maxick's feats, a clear and extreme use of the SMCR method, is related by Tromp van Diggelen.
Here is just another "stunt" that even Saxon would have found hard, I used to lie with my back on Max's open palm and he would tell me to close my eyes and it is hon¬estly true that he would then press me up so slowly that I would not know I was at arm's length until he told me to open my eyes.
(A SUPERMAN - MAXICK! TROMP VAN DlGGELEN)
The Maxick's jerking power from the shoulders was so huge that no light¬weight weightlifter more than 60 years later had been able to surpass it yet.
While all the preceding subjects in this biographical series have been either heavy weights or light-heavyweights, here is a lightweight strongman whose accomplish¬ments were so extraordinary that they warrant being included in any list of weightlifting records.
Maxick, whose name was "anglicised" from the German, Max Sick, was anything but a man in poor health! Paradoxically, he was to become known as "The Muscular Phe nomenon." He was born in Bregenz, a town in the extreme western tip of Austria, on June 28, 1882. Although as a child he had been sickly and of poor physique, by long training in weightlifting and gymnastics he became a phenomenon of muscularity and strength. Although standing only 5 feet 3 3/4 inches and weighing at his best from 145 to 147 pounds, Maxick set records in weightlifting that few heavyweights of his day could equal.
Tromp van Diggelen, a Dutch strong-man and wrestler, who knew and in some cases acted as a mentor to a number of the greatest European strong-men of his time, brought Sick from Munich to London, where the two men arrived on October 26, 1909. It was shortly after this that van Diggelen and an English lightweight strongman named Monte Saldo, who was later to be associated with Sick in business, decided that the Bavarian athlete should have a name more in conformity with English usage. Accord¬ingly, they shortened his two names into one: Maxick.
While Maxick, early in 1910, did some very fine weight-lifting in London, nearly all his greatest lifts were performed either in Germany (Munich) or in South Africa (Johan¬nesburg), where in 1913 he visited Tromp van Diggelen.
Here are Maxick's weightlifting records. All were performed as a professional athlete and at a bodyweight that never exceeded 147 pounds:
Right Hand Military Press, 112 pounds ("performed with considerable ease").
Right Hand Snatch, 165 pounds. Right Hand Swing with Dumbbell, 150 pounds.
Right Hand jerk (shouldering the barbell with two hands), 239 pounds in Munich and 240 pounds in Johannesburg.
Two Hands Military Press, 230 pounds (made at a bodyweight of 145 pounds).
Two Hands Clean and jerk with Barbell, 272 pounds.
Two Hands Continental jerk with Barbell, 322 1/2 pounds in London and 340 pounds in Johannesburg. (In the Two Hands Snatch, he should have been capable of about 215 pounds.)
of the foregoing lifts the most extraordinary were the one and two hand military presses and the one and two hand jerks.
Maxick's Two Hands Military Press of 230 pounds, which he performed in 1909, would be equivalent today to a lift in the same strict style of about 267 pounds, or to a Two Hands Olympic Press of about 312 pounds That is to say, in pressing power Maxick was the equal, in his day, of any of the light-weight olympic champion pressers of the present time. In the One Hand Continental jerk, no such comparison can be made, since this style of one-arm lifting is no longer practised. In bringing a barbell "clean" to the shoulders with both hands, Maxick's record of 272 pounds would be equivalent to about 320 pounds today.
This, while a good lift, is a long way below the 360 pounds or more that the best lightweights clean and jerk today. It is rather in the jerk from the shoulders overhead that Maxick is seen to best ad-vantage, and his record of 340 pounds in this move¬ment would be equal to no less than 400 pounds today. This is truly phenomenal lift¬ing. It would appear to surpass by at least 20 pounds the best jerking ability of any present-day lightweight lifter.
Although in Maxick's day the great heavyweight professional Arthur Saxon was as¬tonishing the world with his ability in the Bent Press, Maxick never cared about this lift. He felt that it was more a feat of long-developed skill than of straight strength. Be this as it may, Maxick must have developed a style of one-arm pressing that was nearly equal in efficiency to the Bent Press. This is deduced from the statement made by Tromp van Diggelen that in Johannesburg in 1913 Maxick "side-pressed" the 185- pound Van Diggelen no fewer than 16 times in succession with one arm. This repeti¬tion-lift was equivalent to a single one-arm press with over 270 pounds!
outside of straight weightlifting, Maxick showed up equally well. Indeed, in hand-bal¬ancing and gymnastics he could perform some astounding feats. While I do not have any figures on his actual records in handstand press-ups, these can be deduced from his known ability to do a Two Hands Military Press of 230 pounds while weighing only 145 pounds himself. This lift, at that bodyweight, was equal to no fewer than 34 hand¬stand press-ups on the floor, or to 21 "tiger-bend" press-ups, or to 22 handstand press-ups on a bench, touching the chest each time. And since Maxick was a skilled balancer, there can be little doubt that he was actually capable of these estimated press-ups.
According to Tromp van Diggelen, who so informed me in a personal letter about 1960, here are some of the feats that Maxick performed when he visited van Diggelen
in Johannesburg in 1913:
1. In a contest at finger-pulling, in which Maxick was "unbeatable," Maxick could pull a 200-pound opponent clear across the table that separated the two men.
2. He pressed van Diggelen (185 pounds) overhead 16 times with his right arm, while holding in his left hand a glass of beer full to the brim, without spilling a drop. Earlier that same day, he had pressed Fred Storbeek (205 pounds), who was then the heavyweight British Empire Boxing Champion, 11 times with his right arm.
3. Holding van Diggelen aloft on one arm, Maxick ran up two flights of stairs with him and then ran down the two flights. Then standing on his hands, he in that position ran up the two flights and down againl These stairs were in the building known in 1913 as Chudleighs', but today as the Bazaar Building.
4. At the Carlton Hotel one night, six empty champagne bottles were put before him. Each of these he filled three-quarters full with water and then, taking bottle after bottle by the neck with his left hand, he brought down the palm of his right hand on the open neck, causing the bottom of each bottle to smash out!
As would he expected in view of his extraordinary strength, Maxick had a superb muscular development. So completely were all his voluntary muscles under his control that he could make any desired group "dance" in time to music. He was, in fact, one of the first great exponents of the art of "muscle control," and could do things in this de¬partment that astonished even the great Eugen Sandow, who himself was an expert in the art.
For many years, Maxick made his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he con¬ducted a gymnasium and health studio. He also went periodically on exploring expedi¬tions into the Matto Grosso of Brazil.
Maxick died in Buenos Aires about 1960, I believe, at which time he would have been about 78 years of age.
Of him it could almost have been said, "We shall not see his like again."
At least, during the period of nearly 60 years that has passed since Maxick was in his prime, no other man of his size has equalled him in all-around strength.
(THE SUPER ATHLETES, DAVID P. WILLOUGHBY)
Many opine that the MC abilities of some Indian yogis or posterior muscle controllers are far superior to the Maxick's ones. About this, in concrete about Otto Arco claims, you can read the Tromp van Diggelen's comments. Unfortu¬nately, we cannot judge precisely the real MC abilities of Maxick, which in¬cluded voluntary control of many internal organs, including the heart, because his most important and detailed photographs were lost.
His physique and strength were mantained at a very high standard and he practised muscle control throughout his life. It is tragic that the photographs he sent back to this country and those of Monte Saldo were destroyed when London was blitzed in World War Two.
(THE IRON GAME, DAVID WEBSTER)
Many Maxick's friends, including Aston, commented that no picture could make justice of the Maxick's physique and abilities.
! II. 16 Flu. 17,
Figure 20. Maxick teaching correct jerking Figure 21. Maxick teaching correct jerking technique, first movement. technique, second movement.
3.5. The way to super control, analytical muscle control (AMC)
The use of AMC permits a complete workout of any body part without the need of any resistance exercise, except for purposes of balance of external forces and verification of own strength levels. With this method you can devote even the 90% of your training time to pure MC.
The study of the AMC was motivated to me by the only serious shortcoming of MC, the real possibility of reinforcing the tendons as much as the muscles with Maxalding.
There is an obvious fact, a muscle cannot be contracted without tensing his attached tendons or ligaments to some extent. Actually, I personally can feel, see, even hear (like a sudden click in ballistic controls) extreme tensions in the tendons of the muscles involved in MC exercises. Why MC could not reinforce tendons?
This was very intriguing for me, because Maxick himself did not recommend MC for tendon strength. But this is due to the fact that many of the original con¬trols were performed in the most contracted positions of the muscle (the easiest ones to learn), minimizing so the tendon and ligament action. So that, I decided to experiment some new controls in order to isolate and increase the tendon tension in concrete insertion points by means of pure MC.
I limited my training exclusively to MC, without any form of external resist¬ance for two months. To my surprise, my general strength and endurance did not decrease, but it increased remarkably in typical weak points of some body- weight exercises (for example, one-handed push-ups). In fact, my first applica¬tion of MC was the rehabilitation of a shoulder injury. My shoulder tendons were then much more resistant than before.
I began to control the muscles in every possible position in little angle incre¬ments. I have been read that some maxaldists and Jubinville were able of isol¬ating some muscle parts in a transverse way, like the two heads of the biceps or the fine horizontal control of the abdominals. Although these controls are ex¬tremely difficult, because the complete relaxation of the surrounding muscle lay¬ers is impossible, I have had success applying the FTMCR and VMC tech¬niques. But the transverse controls were not sufficient for increasing tendon tension at concrete insertion points. After months of daily and patient practice, one evening I discovered that I was able to concentrate mainly in the contrac¬tion of each extreme longitudinal portion of the biceps.
The key was the previous daily control of the muscle in every position from peak contraction to stretch. The feeling of the alternating isolation of the upper and lower sections of the biceps was absolutely amazing. Shortly after, I dis¬covered that the majority of voluntary muscles in the body can be also isolated differentially along its line of motion to some extent.
AMC is then the ability to contract and relax different parts of the same muscle in transversal and longitudinal lines with respect to its natural line of mo¬tion.
I want to make clear that I do not suggest to eliminate external resistance ex¬ercises from your training. These exercises are absolutely necessary for real strength balance, but the AMC system allows you to use appliances with a min¬imal amount of effort and time.
The application of AMC to my workouts changed my ideas about some sup¬posed limitations of the Maxalding system and opened to me an extraordinary and unexpected way to super muscle control.
3.6. General rules for MC success
1. Don't strain or force your muscles. Use the coaxing method.
2. Never train to failure, but train to slight fatigue.
3. Don't allow that your muscles vibrate or they are absolutely rigid. Such practices make difficult the blood flow to the muscles and can have a neg¬ative effect over the nervous system.
4. Keep comfortably warm all through the training time and after it. It is very convenient to have a moderately cold shower immediately after the exer¬cises, followed by a brisk towel massage. Massage the muscles always from limbs towards the heart.
5. Count the time with your own breathing, don't use any kind of watches or clocks. Concentrate absolutely in your exercises.
6. You can listen music for performing the exercises in a more pleasant en¬vironment, but keep it in a low volume, choose a peaceful music and don't put your mind on it. If you are able to be unaware of the music, you are performing well the exercises.
7. Don't hold your breath under any circumstance. In first stages of ab¬dominal control, don't hold the breath more than 5 s and have several full breaths in between. It is unnecessary and risky forcing breath for increas¬ing the performance of abdominal controls, because the very advanced maxaldist should be able to perform the exercises (including the one-sided isolations) while he is breathing.
8. Practice full tidal breathing during exercises. In first stages of MC it is suffi¬cient to breath exclusively through the nose without forcing the thorax or the abdomen. Don't open the mouth in any case.
9. It is not good for the beginner to sustain the contraction more than 5
breathings (about 7-10 s), in general, because the concentration de¬creases quickly for longer times, but don't be satisfied with shorter peri¬ods, because the contraction would not be too effective in terms of strength and muscle development. Besides, it is more productive a series of moderate time controls separated by a short count of resting breathings than an unbroken forced contraction of the same duration. For advanced students, see the next section.
10. Do 1-2 repetitions per day of each principal exercise for muscle toning. If you want to develop a great strength and control, you must perform 1-5 series a day of 1-2 repetitions of each isolation exercise. But be careful, don't overtrain yourself. If you do exercises for all body muscles daily, it is more reasonable to keep the series to a low number, 1 or 2. Remember that a complete body routine for all important muscle isolations, with 10- breathing SMC contractions and 10 BMC pulsations (about 30-60 s per exercise), can last about 1 hour. A low number of series also avoid bore¬dom and lack of concentration. For extreme endurance, practice com-pound controls for a larger number of series, but with the Maxalding en¬ergy conservation principle in mind. I think that 10 series of 10 repetitions each should be a maximum (about 1000 s or 15 min per muscle group). For advanced students, see the next section.
11. Wear as little clothes as you reasonably can. Use very comfortable sport clothes that allow you complete free motions of each body part. Choose clothes with hypoalergic fibres that permit a throughout perspiration while they keep you warm.
12. Drink a little glass of no cold water before exercising, specially before do¬ing the abdominal controls, except if you want to perform extreme isola¬tions for which a completely empty digestive organs are essential.
13. The best time to practice MC is two hours before dinner in the evening, because the muscles are much more responsive. For optimal results, you can do several training sessions, for example, one in the morning and one in the evening, but this is not absolutely necessary if you perform daily all exercises in order.
14. It is very convenient to warm the body and activate blood circulation be¬fore performing MC by means of gentle exercises as walking in place, but the breathing rate must be kept quietly and constant. A very good prac¬tice, that combines MC with aerobic training, is to perform 10 repetitions of alternating knee and arms raising in place, very similar to exercise 1 of strongfortism, between each MC performance, with no rest. This combina¬tion improves circulation and multiplies the effects of MC. It is also an ex¬cellent fat burning system.
15. The use of a large mirror can be useful, but an excessive dependency on the mirror is very harmful. Try to concentrate on the feeling of the muscles and not in their real image, imagine the physique you want by means of VMC techniques while you are performing the controls. Many people fail in abdominal controls because they concentrate in the mirror image instead in the internal feeling of muscles.
3.7. The key to real progress in MC. Instinctive training
We live in the era of numbers and information. All is number and people de¬mand specific calories, food quantities and types, repetitions, series and times thinking that all of these are the key to success.
However, the real secret of Maxalding training is supreme both mental and physical concentration and, actually, it is impossible to achieve it if you are keeping your attention in the counting and completion of the prescribed num¬bers.
Numbers are a good starting point to beginners, but if you aim to perfect MC, you must "listen" the language of your muscles. Both Maxick and Saldo, among many old time strongmen, advocated for this sort of training.
Don't concentrate at all in counting your breathings, relax all your body, in¬cluding breaths, except the muscle that you are controlling.
Contract slowly the desired muscle, breath quietly through the nose and hold a maximal (without strain or vibration) contraction for all the time you can without any decrease in intensity. In the very moment you feel the slightest sign of lack of concentration, muscular fatigue, vibration or rigidity, relax the muscle very slowly. Only do a repetition per muscle this way. If you want to perform more repetitions, do them when you finish all exercises in a sort of cyclic train¬ing. This is know as instinctive training, because you allow your own body to decide the exact amount of training it needs, instead of forcing it to perform an objective time schedule. This kind of exercising is also the best defence against monotony and boredom.
It is clear that the use of the FTMCR technique is essential for success. In first stages of MC, this can be difficult, because the student, without sufficient confidence, generally try to contract the muscles in a explosive way. Because of this, when the student is able to perform all exercises with good form, is bet¬ter to increase the contraction time to 10 breathings and to do only 1 repetition.
Some weeks later, the student should be able to train instinctively making an effort to ignore the breathing count and concentrating completely in the tension feeling of the muscle applying continuously the VCM technique.
Another interesting application of instinctive training is the determination of the optimal tension times for each exercise and individual.
For example, I could calculate in this way that my optimal contraction time is about 10 breathings for most exercises, of which the first breathing is used for raising the tension to a non vibrating maximum and the last one is used for a controlled decreasing of contracting force. Also, I have found that 2 breathings is my best relax interval between contractions.
Counting breathings can contribute to your concentration if properly applied when you know your optimal times after a reasonable experimentation with in¬stinctive training. You also can alternate both types of training.
3.8. MC of the muscles of the face
3.8.1. Frontalis and orbicularis oculi (MC-oculi)
Raise slowly your eyebrows as far as you can. Keep the tension several breathings and relax.
3.8.2. Zygomaticus (MC-zygomaticus)
Adopt a face expression like a big smile without opening the mouth. Contract the muscles slowly, keep the position several breathings and relax.
3.8.3. Orbicularis oris (MC-oris)
Tighten the lips, pressing one against the other. Keep the tension several breathings and relax slowly.
3.8.4. Masseter (MC-masseter)
Tighten the jaws, pressing one against the other very carefully and without forcing, because you could injure your teeth. Keep the position several breath¬ings and relax. This muscle is contracted also in MC-hyoid.
3.8.5. Tongue (MC-tongue)
Yes, the tongue is also a muscle, isn't it? Generally, the tongue is sufficiently worked daily because we use it for speaking and eating. But, for this reason, most important is to know how to relax the tongue properly. In advanced states of relaxation you can feel that the tongue is often the last muscle which you re¬lax. It generally is pointing or pressing to the roof of the mouth and contracted.
Press the tongue against the roof of the mouth powerfully or press one side of the muscle against the other trying to put together both. Hold the tension several breathings and relax very slowly. Try to relax the tongue every time you remember it.
Although the exercises for the face are not common and they are often neg¬lected, they are very important because their involuntary and permanent ten¬sion can produce stress and discomfort. Besides, a strong face muscles are a key factor in order to minimize the effects of ageing. In consequence, the ability to contract and relax voluntarily and powerfully the muscles of the face pro¬duces a lot of benefits.
3.9. MC of the muscles of the neck
MC is one of the better means to strengthen the neck without the risk of other exercises that implies heavy tensions or unstable positions over the vertebra.
3.9.1. Sternohyiod, omohyoid and thyroidhyoid (MC-hyoid)
First stage. Open your mouth and tense your jaws (without closing them). Imagine that your are trying to masticate a piece of solid rubber or something similar. If you do this properly, your hyoids should expand like wings in both sides of the neck.
It is practically impossible to control only one side if you keep the jaws in their natural position. But if you move the inferior jaw to one side, the control is relat¬ively easy.
Second stage. Keep the mouth closed and concentrate in the hyoid and masseter muscles. Tense them at the same time. You can achieve a very powerful contraction and expansion of these muscles. Don't hold the contrac¬tion a long time, because these muscles tend to vibrate shortly.
3.9.2. Sternocleidomastoid (MC-sterno)
Turn the head slightly to one side keeping the neck erect.
ISR technique. Resist the head in this position with the opposite hand, as if you want to turn the head to the side. Apply the tension very slowly in order to distinguish the feeling of the different muscles that contribute to the resistance.
AMR technique. Try to turn the head from one side to the other contracting muscles until you feel that some muscles act like brakes to others. Perform this slowly as far as you can relax the antagonistic muscles while you keep the ten¬sion on the agonistic ones.
VMC and FTMCR techniques. Turn your head to one side. You should feel a slight tension in the sternocleidomastoid of the part of the neck which is turned to the side. Concentrate in this tension and try to intensify it by means of mental contraction.
Finally, you should be able to contract the sternocleidomastoids without turn¬ing the neck and without assistance. The voluntary isolation of both muscles is favoured if you tilt downwards the neck a little.
3.9.3. Splenius capitus, levator scapulae, posterior scalene, middle scalene (MC-scalene)
ISR technique. Try to move the neck leaning it forward and backwards resist¬ing all the time with the hands interlaced behind the head. Apply the tension very slowly. Change the position of the hands, resisting now the same motion with the hands pressing against the forehead.
After this, bend the neck laterally both sides resisting with the same hand.
If you do these exercises slowly and carefully you should discover that some muscles tense most intensely in the back of the neck, and some others contract more strongly at the sides of the neck. With practice, you will be able to contract these muscles voluntarily and to isolate the sternocleidomastoids from the
muscles of the back of the neck.
Don't force the tension, because you would involve another muscles like the trapezius or the serratus.
AMR technique. If you bend your neck laterally trying to touch the shoulders contracting the muscles, you can feel the scalenes. However, if you tilt you head forward and backwards, you would tense more intensely the splenius and levator.
When you are able to contract the different muscle groups of the neck, the fi¬nal isolation is favoured by small changes in the relative position of the shoulders and the neck.
3.10. MC of the muscles of the back
MC of the back muscles is extremely important, because the appropriate con¬trol of the back is the key to many of the most demanding strength tests. Be¬sides, MC is the best technique, if properly learned, to relax and strengthen these frequently neglected and damaged muscles. The benefits are countless, pain relief, posture improvement, relaxing of the spine, increases in flexibility, etc.
3.10.1. Preliminary ISR exercises for shoulder blades and back mobility
A correct mobilization of the shoulder blades is one of the most important factors in order to increase the breathing capacity and to develop the flexibility of the back, shoulders and thoracic box.
126.96.36.199. Loosening of shoulder blades with arms stretched over head (MC-scapula-ISR-1)
Elevate your arms stretched vertically in line with your back. Try to keep your back in a natural straight and relaxed position. If you have any tension in your upper back muscles, the exercise will not produce the desired effect. Of course, this is difficult to achieve in the first sessions, but you will be able to relax prop¬erly in a progressive way.
Interlace surely your hands in the top position and pull with them outwards slowly, but with the maximum effort you can perform without producing any vi¬bration in the muscles. Keep the tension 5-10 breathings and relax. You can re¬peat the exercise 2-5 times.
At the time of pulling, you should feel a little upwards movement of the shoulder blades. The amount of elevation and separation of the shoulder blades depends a lot on bone structure, joint elasticity and previous training. You should not be disappointed if you cannot reproduce the excellent perform¬ance of Maxick. You must pursue your own perfection. For example, Aston was a great muscle controller, but the separation shown in his pictures are modest in comparison with another maxaldists.
188.8.131.52. Loosening of shoulder blades with arms behind the head (MC- scapula-ISR-2)
This exercise is very similar to the previous one, but the arms are bended and the hands interlaced behind the head. In this way you vary the position of the muscles and you facilitate a more complete shoulder blades mobilization.
184.108.40.206. Dynamic mobilization of shoulder blades with DSR (MC-scapula- DSR)
This exercise is a combination of MC-scapula-ISR-1 and MC-scapula-ISR-2 in a DSR fashion. Grasp your hands firmly behind your head and raise the arms towards sky in a straight line with the back, pulling outwards all the way. Without decreasing the outward tension, lower your arms to the initial position.
Inhale while you are raising your arms and exhale in the downwards move¬ment. The pace of exercise must be guided by the breathing.
220.127.116.11. Reinforcement of upper back muscles (MC-back-ISR)
Adopt the position of MC-scapula-ISR-2, but in this case you must push in¬wards with both hands. This exercise change the action of the upper back muscles and reinforce the shoulders.
18.104.22.168. Additional loosening of shoulder blades for rigid joints (MC- scapula-ISR-3)
This exercise must be performed only by people with difficulties for loosening the scapulae by means of the previous exercises.
Grasp your hands behind the lower back and pull strongly outwards. Keep the tension 10 breathings while you try to relax all back muscles completely.
22.214.171.124. Combined shoulder blades loosening and bending for lateral back flexibility and reinforcement (MC-back-AMR+ISR)
Adopt the position of MC-scapula-ISR-2. While keeping the outward pull, bend very slowly the back to one side laterally. The shoulders must be in line with the hips. Don't force your limits, the flexibility will increase with time and pa¬tience. Inhale in the top position and exhale slowly (every time with the nose) while your are bending the back. Bend to the opposite side and repeat 5 times.
126.96.36.199. Reinforcement of erector spinae muscles (MC-spinae-ISR)
Place your hand palms pressing against your gluteals and bend your back backwards very carefully keeping the tension generated by the palms.
Now change the position of the palms and place them pressing against the thighs. Bend your back forward very slowly keeping the tension as far as the back forms a perpendicular angle with the straight legs.
188.8.131.52. Isometric and dynamic pull-ups or chin-ups (BL-pullup)
These are very good exercises for strengthening the back muscles. If you cannot perform complete dynamic pull-ups, grasp the bar and pull isometrically with maximal effort without vibrating for a count of 10 breathings. Relax and re-peat 5 times.
3.10.2. Preliminary AMR exercises for back reinforcement and flexibility
184.108.40.206. AMR pull-ups (MC-pullup-AMR)
Although it is not necessary, it could be helpful to grasp a 1.5 m stick with both hands for this exercise.
Rest the stick firmly grasped with hands at shoulder width behind your head. Raise slowly the stick in line with your shoulders as far as your arms are per¬fectly straight. Try to contract all your back muscles for the raising. Don't con-centrate in hardening your arms (a common tendency), direct all your energies to the back muscles. Inhale in this part of the exercise.
Do the same for the downwards motion, exhaling. Repeat 3-5 times.
220.127.116.11. AMR rowing (MC-rowing-AMR)
Grasp firmly the stick with both arms in front of your chest at shoulders length. Bring the stick towards your chest as far as you can touch the pectorals, contracting powerfully all your back in motion. Inhale in this part. Go to the initial position while exhaling. Do 3-5 times. It is very important to do the exercises along the entire range of motion.
18.104.22.168. Back forward bending (MC-back-AMR-1)
Raise your arms and with them straight, bend your back downwards tensing all muscles in the back as far as you reach a perpendicular angle with the legs. Probably you will tend to contract your abdominal muscles also, this will put ad¬ditional resistance to the motion in first stages, but you must try to reduce this antagonistic contraction progressively.
Inhale in the top position and exhale while you are bending.
There is a lot of discussion about the convenience of bending the spine com¬pletely. Trying to do MC accessible to most people and extremely safe, I con¬sider best to keep the maximum angle to 90°.
22.214.171.124. Back backwards bending (MC-back-AMR-2)
Adopt the same initial position than in exercise MC-back-AMR-1, but now bend backwards very slowly and carefully. Tense all muscles in your back all
126.96.36.199. Back lateral bending (MC-back-AMR-3)
In the same initial position as MC-back-AMR-1 and MC-back-AMR-2, bend the spine laterally to one side alternating both. Inhale in top position and exhale in the lowest one. Tense all muscles in your back.
3.10.3. Preliminary back exercises with LD
The use of light dumbbells for achieving MC can be very beneficial. The gen¬eral, and very important, recommendation is to avoid any antagonistic action. Relax all your muscles and concentrate only in the muscles that are performing the action.
This necessary relaxation is the reason by which the use of light weights is mandatory. Exercises with challenging dumbbells will produce a struggling that would prevent the necessary concentration in the agonistic muscles and would tend to contract the antagonistic ones for protecting the ligaments. This is an in¬stinctive protective mechanism of the body which only can be minimized with a careful and continuous practice of MC.
The use of 1-5 kg dumbbells should be sufficient in general in order to learn MC.
188.8.131.52. Back bending (LD-back-1)
Grasp one dumbbell with both hands over the head with arms fully stretched. Separate feet about 1 m. Bend the back laterally without twisting as far as you can. Apply the SMCR technique very progressively.
184.108.40.206. Back twisting (LD-back-2)
Grasp one dumbbell with both hands and arms fully stretched. Twist your back from side to side in circles applying SMCR.
220.127.116.11. Several lifts which involve the back muscles
• One handed jerk.
• Two hands jerk.
• One handed swing.
Use SMCR in all lifts with very light weights. Select only two or three lifts per workout. Don't do many of them in the same training session.
3.10.4. LD technique with Aston's anti dumbbell
The Aston's idea for lifting practice has been described before. The use of an antidumbbell has many advantages for the student of Maxalding, because the lack of equilibrium and the additional force momentum involve a greater con¬centration and help to feel the weak points in muscle action. The weight must be comfortably easy to handle.
3.10.5. Preliminary BL back exercises
One of the favourite Maxick's exercises were handstand press-ups, the LB exercise of Maxalding curses, performed dynamically. Pull-ups have been dis¬cussed before.
Although handstand press-ups are, without doubt, one of the best exercises for back development, it is very difficult and unsafe for many people, although performed against a wall. One easier alternative is to elevate the feet over something stable, like a bed, and adopt a body form similar to an inverted "V" and from this position to do push-ups. If you apply the SCMR to this exercise in motion, you can obtain many of the benefits of a complete handstand with little probability of injury.
Another very easy and good exercise for contracting and isolating to some extent the erector spinae is simply hip raising from a supine position with the legs flexed forming an angle over the floor. This exercise, done with SMCR, eliminates the need of performing other controversial exercises like the full bridge (exercise T of Maxalding).
3.10.6. Isolation of back muscles 18.104.22.168. Trapezius (MC-trapezius)
There are three basic techniques for isolating the trapezius. They are shown in order of increasing difficulty.
• Shrugging. Raise your shoulders and try to press both sides one against the other and against the back of the neck. Keep the tension 5-10 breath¬ings and relax completely.
• Contraction in a crucifix position. This position allows a very powerful con¬traction of the whole trapezius. Raise your arms straight in line with your shoulders (90° with the body line) and shift them slightly backwards. You should feel now the tension in the trapezius. Concentrate on it, imagine that it adopts the same form you could observe in Maxick's pics and in¬tensify the contraction by voluntary action. Keep the contraction for 5-10 breathings and relax.
• Direct contraction (very difficult in words of Maxick). This control demands a lot of patience, but it is very favoured by the practice of the first two methods. Relax all muscles in the back. Try to move (without the actual motion) very slowly the shoulders forward, but not upwards. Maintain the shoulder length and the back very slightly bent forward. In most cases the pectorals are slightly contracted to aid the control of the trapezius in this position. You can aid the contraction pressing with the palms of hands lat¬erally over the hips or pressing one hand against the other in front of the abdomen or interlacing the hands behind the lower back and pressing. Keep the contraction steadily without forcing the pectoral help. Sustain it for 5-10 breathings and relax completely.
You must increase the difficulty slowly and be patient. If you can control the whole trapezius, you can control only one side easily. Concentrate on the de¬sired part and contract it slowly, relaxing pectorals as far as you can.
1. Longitudinal AMC (LAMC) (MC-trapezius-LAMC). In very advanced stages you should be able to feel three contracting zones in the trapezius, lower, middle and upper. In the lower part you can observe a transference of contraction from the erector spinae to the trapezius. Try to concentrate the tension in the separation of both muscles. In the middle part you can differentiate the tension of the trapezius because it does not tend to ex¬pand the shoulder blades. The upper zone is most easily distinguishable, but its isolation produces in general a tendency to contract powerfully the pectorals. This is not severe if you can isolate this action from the expan¬sion of shoulder blades, also favoured by pectorals. In the case of upper trapezius, the upper pectoral layer should be felt and relaxed if possible.
2. Transverse AMC (TAMC) (MC-trapezius-TAMC). The isolation of one side of the trapezius is relatively easy, once mastered the complete control (in some cases it is easier to try the one sided control first). Try to combine LAMC and TAMC controls generating a wave tension feeling over the muscle. For this, relax when you inhale and contract the desired part while you are exhaling. Don't force breathing at all, any forcing implies lack of control.
3. SMCR. This is an excellent exercise for overall body conditioning, but now I want to concentrate in a powerful action of the trapezius. Put your arms stretched at both sides of the body and raise them in a SMCR fashion as far as they form a 90° with the body (crucifix). Work very progressively concentrating on your trapezius. Use very light dumbbells at first and nev¬er surpass a limit of 5 kg with this technique, it is unnecessary and ex¬cessively demanding.
22.214.171.124. Voluntary expansion of shoulder blades (MC-scapula-expansion)
The most common errors in performing this exercise are the tendency to con¬tract also the latissimus dorsi and the involuntary expansion of the rib box with forced inhalation (a very harmful practice).
Place both hands firmly resting over the hips, you can help yourself at first stages pressing steadily both hands (or one at time if you want isolate only one side) against the hip bones. Now concentrate all your attention over the ex¬treme points of the scapulae and expand them.
Many people with rigid joints, including me, could be disappointed at first with the small shift produced. In some cases even you can feel some sort of click while you are expanding the scapulae in a ballistic control. A careful study of the pictures of Maxick and of another Maxalding pupils reveal that the spectac¬ular expansions depends a lot on bone structure and another elasticity factors of the ligaments. Go by the alternating tension-relax feeling and don't be ob¬sessed with your image on the mirror.
The isolation of one shoulder blade at time is as easy as the complete expan¬sion and should be performed in an alternating fashion.
In this case there are no different parts to isolate, but you can apply the FTM- CR to the expansion, doing it very slowly. If you have extremely supple liga¬ments attached to shoulder blades, you could raise and lower the scapulae in a cyclical and circular fashion. This is really a very spectacular control that amaze most people. If you are as inflexible as I am, you should be happy feeling the action of your muscles in expansions of a fraction of cm. MC is one of the best techniques for improving your flexibility, but cannot do miracles.
126.96.36.199. Voluntary abduction of shoulder blades (MC-scapula-abduction)
This control is very similar to MC-scapula-expansion, but in this case, you must bring your shoulders slightly backwards as far as you can note with your fingers (at first performances) that there is a hole between your scapulae and your back. If you have mastered previously the exercise MC-scapula-expan- sion, you should have little difficulty in perform correctly the abduction.
You can combine both exercises to add impressiveness to the scapulae movements.
188.8.131.52. Latissimus dorsi (MC-lats)
This can be a difficult control due to a lack of muscle development in this zone or because this is an "all or none" control.
The use of auxiliary exercises is very important in first stages. Pull-ups are excellent, both dynamically or statically. Specially the static ones can help you in differentiating the tension on the latissimus dorsi.
But, for a pure voluntary control the best is this AMR exercise (MC-lats-AMR). Raise your arms at 90° with respect the body (crucifix position) and bend the forearms with hands pointing to the sky. The forearms form an angle of 90° with the upper arms that are in a horizontal position. Tense your muscles and press inwards as far as you touch your forearms in front of your chest maintaining the angles. Imagine that your are pressing against some sort of gymnastic ma¬chine. The key is to concentrate the antagonistic resistance on the back (latis- simus dorsi) and not on the pectorals. With a little practice you should be able to do so.
The pure control comes when you don't need to move the arms from its ori¬ginal position in order to contract the latissimus dorsi muscles. MC produces a very detailed definition in this body part (if you have a reasonable low body fat, of course). These muscles are the key to the appreciated "V" shape of the back.
A little, but important observation, don't be obsessed with quick body fat de¬creases. It is much better a steady and graduated weight loss, than a very speedy one. The results are far more healthy and durable. It is unsafe and un¬realistic, except in medical controlled patients, to reduce more than 0.5-1 kg per week. It is very risky to lose weight or to do any exercise program without a suf¬ficient intake of water. Drink a lot of pure water in little amounts every time you can and never use hermetic clothes that induce perspiration. Some practices are absolutely condemnable. For example, running in the hottest hours of sum¬mer days dressed with plastic underwear is a madness. Never force your per¬spiration in any circumstance.
£XERCI5E IX FIGURE 13
Figure 22. Matysek performing MC-lats.
Applying FTMCR you can perform a very slow expansion of the latissimus dorsi. Much more difficult is the LAMC of this muscles. The tension can be var¬ied slightly from the lowest part, near the abdominal obliques, to the middle one, whose isolated contraction tend to activate the intercostals. The contrac¬tion of the upper part is almost confused with the action to expand the shoulder blades (MC-scapula-expansion).
Figure 23. Sig Klein performing one-side MC- lats.
184.108.40.206. Erector spinae (MC-spinae)
The preliminary exercises have been explained before (see MC-spinae-ISR).
The control of this muscles are extremely important for back pain relief, im¬proving posture and preventing back injuries during the performance of heavy efforts.
This control is rated as one of the most difficult ones, but once you have achieved it, you have it forever. It is very funny and amazing for most people, because it can be felt easily by direct touching of the lower back.
I have discovered that the keys to pure voluntary control of the erector spinae are two.
1. Position. Put your fingers over these muscles with the back straight but re¬laxed and bend slightly forward and backwards until you can feel a little contraction. Try to intensify the tension by concentration.
2. Helping action of the central muscle layers of the rectus abdominis. This control is very favoured by the LAMC of the rectus abdominis. The relaxa¬tion of upper sections of the abdomen helps a lot for improving the con¬centration over the erector spinae.
The TAMC of the erector spinae (MC-spinae-TAMC) implies the isolation of each side. This is easy once mastered the main control by turning very slightly the back to the desired side. This control is very favoured by the performance of preliminary exercise of section 3.10.5 with only one foot on the floor and the opposite leg straight and forming a parallel angle with respect the back line.
The LAMC of the erector spinae (MC-spinae-LAMC) is intimately related to the mastery of LAMC relaxing of horizontal abdominal muscle layers.
A very careful inspection of the effect of the forward-backwards angle of bending of the lower back on the level and transference of contraction over the erector spinae can be helpful.
The final goal is the combined LAMC + TAMC of each muscle side in a wave alternating form.
Another observation. The speed of performance of the advanced and ex¬treme controls, like this, is irrelevant. The important thing is to perform them correctly. Some maxaldists were able to pulsate their muscles in synchroniza¬tion with music, like Tony Holland, some others were able to perform incredible steel-like contractions of any body part for prolonged times, like Alan Mead.
These abilities depend a lot on your preferences, your goals and your ana¬tomy. Any speed of performance is good as far as you effectively isolate the de¬sired muscles.
I personally like the feeling of a steady and continuous transition from con¬traction to relaxation and vice versa, i.e., I apply FTMCR all times. This tech¬nique allows me more powerful contractions without the risk of forcing or vibrat¬ing my muscles, it increases my concentration and develops the necessary feelings and methods for achieving extreme high levels of voluntary body-mind relaxation. For this reason I generally train with slow tensing, except for BMC.
But this is only a personal choice, you could find more productive and enjoyable to train with quick pulsations trying to synchronize them with your favourite mu¬sic.
Of course, some contractions of 5-10 breathings each are necessary for de¬veloping muscle mass and strength. The exclusive use of quick reflexes is the origin of many unfounded misconceptions and critics about Maxalding, because such quick pulsations have little effect over the muscles.
3.11. MC of the muscles of the shoulder
3.11.1. Preliminary ISR and DSR exercises
The MC-scapula-ISR exercises are also very good for shoulder development if you concentrate your attention on them. I show here some additional DSR ex¬ercises. All of them can be performed statically also in several positions or with SMCR. Of course, you don't need to perform all exercises, you can select a few and change them over time in addition to pure MC.
220.127.116.11. DSR on elbow (MC-shoulder-DSR-1)
Grasp your elbow with the opposite hand and try to push it backwards while you resist with the hand force. You can do this exercise along the complete range of motion of the shoulder. Do it slowly or keep the tension in several places for 5 breathings. Concentrate on the tension feeling. A very few number of performances is necessary (1-5).
18.104.22.168. DSR shoulder shrugging (MC-shoulder-DSR-2)
Try to shrug one shoulder with the arm straight while you resist the move¬ment with the opposite hand.
22.214.171.124. DSR one handed swing (MC-shoulder-DSR-3)
Keep one arm straight in his bottom position and try to elevate it in front of you as far as it points to the roof. Resist the motion with the opposite hand pressing over the front of the resisted wrist with the fist firmly clenched. Be careful with the amount of tension you put in your shoulders, because in this position, the straight arm acts like a lever and can produce an excessive force on the shoulder tendons and ligaments. Apart from this, it is an extraordinary exercise for all the upper body.
126.96.36.199. DSR single handed jerk (MC-shoulder-DSR-4)
This a very beautiful and effective exercise that works a lot of muscles simul¬taneously. The idea is to simulate the most beautiful lift of all, in Maxick's words, with DSR only.
Bend one arm with the forearm touching the biceps and the elbow pointing to the floor. Put the open palm facing to the roof and the fingers pointing to the shoulder. Now press downwards firmly with the opposite palm and try to raise the bended arm as far as it is almost straight. Be careful with your wrists, don't force them.
If you perform this exercise properly, you can feel its extraordinary effects over the wrists, forearms, deltoids, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae and inter¬costals.
3.11.2. Preliminary AMR exercises
You can do exactly the same DSR exercises as before, but you must change the manual resistance for antagonistic resistance.
You can simulate also the lateral raise (crucifix), with AMR. Concentrate the tension on the deltoids and elevate the extended arms very slowly.
3.11.3. Preliminary BL exercises
All BL exercises should be performed with SMCR very progressively. The SMCR technique also provides a good cardio workout with very few repetitions. The key exercise for upper body development in Maxalding are push-ups (or press-ups). If you elevate your feet and adopt the form of a inverted "V" you work more intensely the shoulders. Maxick used to do handstand press-ups in his daily training.
The performance of Maxalding press-ups try to optimize your effort concen¬trating the leverage on each side in an alternating form. Adopt the common push-up position and tilt your body over one side as far as most of your body- weight is supported by the arm of this side. Raise yourself applying SMCR all the time as far as you can comfortably do. Generally 1-5 repetitions are suffi¬cient. Repeat with the other arm in the same fashion.
This exercise is very important to understand the scientific and very progress¬ive strength development inside the Maxalding system.
A weak or untrained person must begin this exercise pressing against the wall with the body erect. The application of SMCR over successive weeks will develop the necessary strength to perform the exercise directly over the floor but with the weight distributed over the knees. Finally, you will be able to do perfect press-ups with increasing tilting degrees.
In the original courses this was one of the most advanced exercises. Court Saldo added subsequently more demanding exercises like handstands and one handed push-ups. Such demanding exercises should be done seldom, more like strength tests than like the basis of our training, because they put a consid¬erable stress on the joints. The same can be said about another one limb lever-age exercises.
The tilting method is used also for squats in Maxalding, providing an easy way to increase the strength without risk. Tilting and SMCR are the main rein¬forcement techniques for bodyweight exercises.
I have been always intrigued by the real possibility of developing such a per¬fect body as many Maxalding pupils showed with only such an apparently easy exercises. The mentioned exercises are excellent for overall body development, but, in general, they are clearly insufficient for attaining the muscular definition and density of pure Maxalding pupils, like Billy Ralph. The secret must be, of course, in the regular use of MC.
The combination of MC with DSR and BL is extremely efficient because you can gauge very precisely the maximal amount of force you can generate without practically any risk of straining yourself.
Obviously the non apparatus Maxalding methods do not permit an exact physical measure of the progression and this constitutes one of the main critics to natural methods of training without weights. This shortcoming is com¬pensated for the very improbable chance of injuring yourself trying to put an ef¬fort that exceed your abilities.
Besides, the above statement against Maxalding is not entirely correct. You can verify your progress in many satisfactory ways. The tilting method is a fairly good way to increase force. You can use one limb leverage in order to chal¬lenge yourself. You also can increase the SMCR times very precisely. An ad¬vanced student of Maxalding even should be able to feel almost exactly the amount of tension that he is generating. When you have read this book, your ideas about the possibilities of progression in Maxalding probably will change.
If you are not obsessed with breaking numbers, these measures of your im¬provement are sufficiently motivating.
3.11.4. Preliminary LD exercises
Evidently you can do the mentioned DSR lifts light dumbbells. The use of As- ton's technique stresses particularly the shoulder area.
One of the best exercises with LD for shoulder development is the lateral raise as far as you reach a crucifix position. One of the reasons of the ex¬traordinary Maxick's shoulder and back development was his performance of crucifixes in chains without rings.
3.11.5. Isolation of the muscles of the shoulder 188.8.131.52. Deltoid (MC-deltoid)
Applying AMC (analytic muscle control) in different positions, we can isolate some portions of the deltoids. Actually, the main difficulty for these controls is the isolation from the pectorals, because there is an instinctive tendency to con¬tract the pectorals simultaneously with the deltoids in many cases.
Exercise 1 (MC-deltoid-1).
Put your arms straight at each side of your body with the palms touching slightly your hips. In first stages you can help the contraction pressing the palms against the hips, but you should try to generate the tension by means of will power only. You will observe that the triceps and the pectorals are involved to some extent. The next exercises help to isolate more effectively the deltoids. Keep the tension 5-10 breathings and relax.
Exercise 2 (MC-deltoid-2).
Very similar to the precedent exercise, but in this case you must elevate your palms as far as the level of the floating ribs. Don't press with hands in this case. If you have some difficulty for contracting the deltoids in this position, go to Ex¬ercise 1 and raise your palms very slowly keeping the generated tension.
Exercise 3 (MC-deltoid-3).
Adopt the same position of MC-deltoid-2, but now turn your arms backwards with your elbows pointing back at 90° with respect your body line. Try to con¬tract mentally your deltoids. If you perform this exercise correctly, you can isol¬ate the action of the deltoids very effectively with an almost non existent pector¬al contraction.
Exercise 4 (MC-deltoid-4).
Adopt a crucifix position with arms stretched at 90°. Concentrate on your shoulders instead on your trapezius (this is the difficult point). Hold the tension 5-10 breathings and relax.
184.108.40.206. Infraspinatus, teres major and teres minor (MC-teres)
The next muscles belongs to the back, but we analyse them here because they are implied in most shoulder motions.
They are very difficult to isolate, because they are relatively small and there are not positions that generate a differential tension on them.
We can try to contract them varying the angle of the arms in the MC-deltoid-4 and applying AMC with fine tuning of the tension from the lower part of the back of the shoulder to the higher without moving the shoulder blades.
220.127.116.11. Advanced controls for the muscles of the shoulder (MC-deltoid- AMC)
The previous exercises works the different sections of the deltoids very satis¬factorily and they have being designed with this purpose in mind.
The voluntary AMC of this muscle is much more difficult and almost im¬possible in a neutral relaxed position, but I have had some success applying the FTMCR (fine tune of muscle contraction and relaxation) in the position of MC-deltoid-1,2 and especially MC-deltoid-3.
Adopt the position of MC-deltoid-3 and perform the contraction of the deltoid very slowly, feeling each portion of the muscle. If your body fat levels allow it,
you can see a very nice tension transference from the lower sections of the shoulder to the upper ones.
18.104.22.168. Mastering DMC (dynamic muscle control) for the shoulders (DMC-shoulder)
Once you have mastered the static isolations, you can try to perform them in a dynamic fashion, simulating every exercise you can imagine.
Exercise 1 (DMC-shoulder-1).
Fix an isolated contraction of the deltoids for 2-3 breathings and move your shoulders very slowly in circles, forward, upwards, backwards and downwards. Regulate the motion with your breaths. Inhale in the first part of the movement and exhale for the next three parts.
Exercise 2 (DMC-shoulder-2).
Raise your arms slowly from bottom position as far as you reach the crucifix position holding the deltoid isolation throughout the motion. Lower your arms in the same form. Inhale while you are raising your arms and exhale while you are lowering them.
Exercise 3 (DMC-shoulder-3). Compound exercise for upper body.
Do the same than in DMC-shoulder-2, but now contract powerfully the delt¬oids, trapezius and arm muscles. This exercise increases the lifting power re¬markably. Adjust your tension very carefully, don't strain yourself.
In isolation exercises there is little chance of strain, except some cramping, but with compound exercises in which a lot of muscles are contracted simultan¬eously, the tension must be carefully tuned in order to reduce the blood pres¬sure and to allow a more fluent motion.
3.12. Differences between DMC, AMR and SMCR. Advantages and shortcomings of each technique
First of all, I must admit that in many cases the feeling over the muscles of the three techniques can be very similar, although in theory, they are clearly distinguished.
• DMC (dynamic muscle control). It consists in the motion of an isolated
muscle or muscle group along their entire range of motion.
• AMR (antagonistic muscle resistance). With this method you provide res¬istance against the free movement of a group of muscles by means of the counterbalancing tension of their antagonistic partners.
• SMCR (strategic muscle control with resistance). You apply MC to the per¬formance of a motion with external resistance, like weightlifting, body- weight or self-resistance exercises.
The purpose of DMC is to learn how to generate extreme contractions and relaxations for concrete muscles in motion. You can simulate any exercise with this method if you know what muscles you must contract and relax. This brings you many advantages.
• The possibility of doing a complete workout of any intensity every time and everywhere.
The apparatus used in Maxalding is the mind, the body and the ground. Where you are there is Maxalding.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? There is a minimal chance of strain or injury.
Thereafter a series of natural exercises are prescribed for the particular individual, instituted by steady graduations, in a manner that is controlled by the strength of the student or patient, and which makes strain impossible.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? It is very progressive and suitable for everybody.
its exercises are based on definite mental control and range from movements that can safely be performed by the weakest person, to those that are difficult to the ad¬vanced athlete.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? It can be specialized in order to develop weak points or make the body more symmetrical.
Maxalding can be used with complete fruition on any part of the body, irrespective of any body other part.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? This is a method that works directly (and safely) the internal organs. It is the best for rehabilitation, even in cases of severe injuries. It provides also an excellent cardio workout without forcing you in any form.
This wonderful discovery has made it simple for the organically sound person of any age or either sex to keep the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, bowels, liver, kidneys and skin in perfect working order, even when through injury to the limbs, congenital lameness or physical weakness, the ordinary forms of mechanical exercises are ta¬boo.
The basic exercises of Maxalding establish correct skeletal position, thoracic supple¬ness, abdominal tone and flatness, and primarily give direct exercise to the internal organs.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? DMC combines voluntary control, contraction, relaxation and stretching in every exercise.
Eventually the advanced student possesses the power of stretching, relaxing, con¬tracting and controlling every muscle or muscle group voluntarily.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? You can practice DMC exercises every day.
Each muscle or muscle group is daily stretched, relaxed, contracted and controlled in organized sequence...
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? DMC exercises improve body functions.
... and each pose or position held long enough to ensure complete blood irrigation and circulation.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
? DMC avoids boredom and makes that you undertake to concentrate en¬tirely in the exercise. Most of controls are of the "all or none" type, so that when you perform a DMC exercise, you can be sure that you are doing it correctly.
it is impossible to perform any of the Maxalding exercises correctly, unless the mind be intelligently and definitely applied. This does not mean that one has to strain, but merely that one has to perform a single and definite action, thereby giving a definite result, instead of a number of repetitions of leg or arm waving, or hip wobbling move¬ments.
(MAXALDING LEAFLET, COURT SALDO)
But, also there are some objections.
x It is an advanced method. You must know the muscles that are involved in a certain exercise and how to contract and relax them along the entire
range of motion. In most cases DMC implies a lot of mastery of the most difficult MC techniques, LAMC (longitudinal analytical MC) and TAMC (transversal analytical MC).
x Sometimes it is very difficult to contract simultaneously several muscle groups without mutual or antagonistic interference in compound move¬ments.
x A correct training of tendons and ligaments by means of DMC only is pos¬sible performing the motion as far as stretched positions, the most difficult ones to control.
DMC exercises are among my favourite ones, especially DMC swimming, the most gentle, strengthening and complete exercise I know.
I'm a fan of breaststroke swimming and I used to swim briskly about 5 km every summer day in my twenties, but now the swimming pools are crowded and it is impossible to me to swim a dozen of metres in a row. Because of this, I tried to simulate my favourite sport with another exercises. Obviously, this simu¬lations were not satisfactory until I learned Maxalding. Now I can "swim" every time I want with better performance than in a pool.
Actually, the water resistance feeling of the internal tension generated by DMC is the main subjective difference between DMC and AMR. My first at¬tempts for simulating swimming used AMR and were frustrating to some extent because in this case the resistance is of a brake type. When I tried to put the same contracting effort with AMR swimming than I put on MC isolations, I gen-erally felt nervous, overtrained and sometimes the unequal antagonistic tension of pectorals, triceps and latissimus dorsi over the shoulders produced me an in¬tense pain.
The advantage of AMR over DMC is that it is much more instinctive and easy to learn. If fact, AMR can be considered an almost universal and natural train¬ing system for all mammals. All of us tend to stretch and tense our antagonistic muscles when we get up in the morning. Surely you have seen how both do¬mestic and wild animals contract their muscles in very defined patterns.
MC represents the most advanced rational development of this instinctive body conditioning manoeuvres. The great Maxick's discovery, that makes Max- alding very different from another tensing system, is the possibility of voluntary relaxation. Relaxation leads to isolation and the isolations develop the ability to conserve and distribute energy with extreme efficiency. Many systems try to teach you how to generate maximal forces, Maxalding is the only system that teaches you the language of the muscles, i.e., how to relax the muscles in every situation.
Finally, I consider SMCR an excellent way to achieve true DMC. It is almost impossible to reproduce an exercise with DMC if you have not felt previously the action of the involved muscles. This feeling must be analytical and distinct¬ive and, of course, the best way to acquire it is by means of SMCR. Besides, SMCR is necessary in order to get used to external forces.
With this new insights about DMC in mind, I want to reconsider the central question.
3.13. Can you develop great strength with MC only?
First of all, we must distinguish between pure strength and the actual applica¬tion of this strength to some sport.
That MC can develop great strength is beyond doubt, because any rational and progressive tension applied on muscles develops them and MC allows you to generate extreme powerful contractions.
But MC training never stresses the body over its own contracting powers and this protective progression prevents in general the quicker size and strength gains we can observe in weightlifting. However, MC is much safer and with suf¬ficient practice and patience its results are comparable with those obtained with weights.
One common question is the following. If weightlifting is quicker and much more easy to learn than MC, why should I practice MC?
? Because it is safer.
? Because it is the best system to improve muscular definition and density. Weightlifting is not sufficient for achieving excellence.
? Because MC develops to an extreme degree the neural connections between muscle and mind.
? Because MC trains nerve force in concrete positions.
? Because MC optimizes your energy expenditure.
? Because MC teaches you how to concentrate in the exercise. MC is the true application of the sentence "think on your muscles".
? Because MC improves your psychological training and reinforces your mind as much as your body.
? Because you can perform MC all your life without risk of long term injuries.
? Because MC is a rational and natural system.
? Because MC is the cheapest training system of all.
? Because you can do MC every time and everywhere.
? ... and many more.
But many people argue that you cannot excel at any sport, in concrete weightlifting, with MC only. This is such an obvious argument that it does not deserve any defence, but this has nothing to do with the MC development of strength.
I can ask a similar question to some narrow minded weightlifting fans. Can you develop MC training exclusively with weights? If they are sincere, they must confess that true MC only can be achieved practising MC. The same argument is valid for any sport. Can you excel at swimming or climbing or ... training only with weights? Does this imply that weightlifting is not good for developing strength? No, weightlifting is one of the best methods of body conditioning, but does not train the necessary skills for swimming, climbing running or wrestling.
This is the only reason by which all strongmen, including Maxick, considered that MC alone was not sufficient for strength development. All of them were in-volved in professional weightlifting to some extent and MC (or bodyweight exer¬cises or strands) is unable to teach your body how to elevate and sustain a big mass of iron over your head.
In spite of this, muscle development follows some universal patterns, both in weightlifting and MC, that we can use to optimize our strength gains by means of MC training.
You must note that I always speak about strength and not about size. The reason is that MC produces size increases as a by product of the muscle rein¬forcement and generally the muscles develop definition and density first.
The misunderstandings about MC produced the idea that the only way to pro¬gress in Maxalding was the endless increase of contraction times. This led to the dreadful isotension concept.
We shall study extremely efficient ways to increase strength in Maxalding without increasing the contraction times over the natural 5-10 breathings limit. If you think that SMCR is the ultimate method in Maxalding, you are wrong.
3.14. Advanced methods for increasing strength and beating sticking points
Large muscles do not imply necessarily great strength.
Those who may be hoping to develop themselves as "Physical Supermen", or shall we say as men who are notably stronger than the average, should realise from the first that Strength lies in the quality and not in the quantity of the muscle developed. [...] Pretty nearly anyone who has endowed with a fair natural physique can, if he so wishes, cultivate large muscles and the appearance of a Hercules. It will not follow, however, that he can with such muscles lift weights or heave weights, living or dead, with the facility of a man who has developed supple muscle.
Numerous repetitions of dumb-bell lifts, etc., will build up muscle bunches, but this will be little better than "exhibits" without resilience or pliability.
And here I would point out that these "muscle cultivators" are the men who have giv¬en Physical Culture such a bad name as it possesses and who have, to no small ex¬tent, retarded the progress of weightlifting as sport.
(THE PHYSICAL SUPERMAN - WHY LARGE MUSCLES DO NOT IMPLY NECESSARILY GREAT STRENGTH, EDWARD ASTON)
This words sound very modern. In fact, people like Aston were beyond his time. The acquisition of real strength is a slow process that demands a lot of perseverance.
There are many good strength training methods, the key is the development of good quality muscle. A muscle cannot exert all force that it is able without pli¬ability and suppleness. MC is the best way to developing these qualities. Actu¬ally, many modern stretching techniques borrow some simplified concepts from Maxalding.
The simplest and more easily system to increase strength is progressive overloading, generally with weights. In Maxalding we are limited in our loading ability because of the subjective aspects involved in MC and our own body- weight. In consequence, we must search for new safe methods for increasing strength.
The SMCR technique is extremely good for our purposes, but it is not logical to raise indefinitely the contraction times in order to challenge our muscles. We need more rational and efficient approaches.
Some Maxalding exercises suggest us a way to the solution, the combination of static and ballistic controls (SMC + BMC), although the principle was not clearly stated and it was not universally applied to all controls in the original writings, perhaps because of the difficulty of performing certain ballistic controls except in very advanced students. For example, this combined technique is
suggested in the exercises for the biceps, a muscle that can be controlled fairly easily.
Peak contraction and control of biceps.
... Contract the biceps powerfully by flexing the arm as completely as possible and turning the edge of the hand (little finger side) towards the body. Hold for several seconds with full concentration. Then relax and contract the muscle in a succession of quick movements so that the biceps is made to jump into contraction and relax again as quickly as possible.
(DESCRIPTION OF THE ORIGINAL EXERCISES K&L OF MAXALDING)
Another great weightlifter of old times, Pullum, explain us the general tech¬niques for strength development with extraordinary clarity. Note the importance that Pullum gives to the key point in MC and its main effect, the ability of relax¬ing the muscles properly. This a clear influence of Maxick's ideas and methods. Remember that Pullum was a very good friend of both Maxick and Monte Saldo.
Building muscle and building strength are not necessarily identical propositions. If, reader, you wish chiefly to improve your physical development, this you will find a comparatively easy matter, providing, of course, from beginning to end, that you go the right way about it. Simply to state a fact, adding to the size of the muscles is really the easiest of all results that wait on the use of a barbell.
If great strength, however, be the dominant aim, then you face a much longer job. For while a total of inches approximating the limit of possible development can some¬times be put on a man's frame in a few months, the limit to which the power of that de¬velopment can be increased will not be reached so quickly. As indicating the potential¬ities of one compared with the other, it may be stated that instances are known where muscular strength has increased steadily for over twenty years from a starting point somewhere in the teens. Continuous increase of pure muscular tissue over a similar period, however, is a very rare occurrence. [...]
The condition of the muscles themselves bears on the matter of their development more than most physical culturists seem to realise. What should be understood by everyone interested in this work is that muscle only holds the power of increasing its size while it possesses the ability to relax into a plastic state when not in action. In oth¬er words, for muscle to be brought to the full limit of its "bulk" development, mainten¬ance of the normal suppleness of its tissues is a prime essential. [...]
The things that make for outstanding physical strength are great vital force, a high degree of nervous energy, and superlative quality of muscular tissue. [...]
Dealing with the quality of muscle, this is decided by the following properties: (1) its power to operate efficiently; (2) its ability so to continue operating; and (3) its capacity for relaxation when not actively engaged. The extent to which the first two will develop, of course, depends upon what methods are employed and the amount of time given to the job. Regarding the third, perfect freedom to revert to that condition is a natural dis¬position of the muscle. But -and this must be understood as well- such it will remain only as long as it is properly treated. [...]
To establish by means of exercise a condition of general bodily fitness, it is not ne¬cessary to employ any apparatus on top what nature has supplied. in favour of appar¬atus there is, of course, this to be said: that it enables the user to concentrate the more easily on what he is doing -a fact which explains its mass popularity! Against it, however, the argument can be advanced that the appeal of the method tends to the essay of tasks beyond the object. Which, as a premature proceeding, certainly is not wise. [...]
Regarding the muscles, as intimated earlier, their strength ultimately resolves itself into a matter of fibrous "tone". That being so, the student should concentrate all the while on the definite improvement of this. In the course of effecting which the tissues may increase appreciably in bulk, or they may not, this depending entirely upon the susceptibility of the material. Most, times, though, this result will occur, if the work con¬tinues long enough.
There are several ways in which weights may be used to elevate the tone of muscle. First -and most commonly practised because of its simplicity- the performer exercises with poundages that allow of the movements being carried out correctly a few times only, progression being made by adding slightly to the weight of the bells as the tissue becomes stronger. Second, poundages mount steadily, repetitions each stage growing less, until the end of the schedule finds the man executing the movement only once. Third, poundages are fixed which approach full capacity, progression being made by performing the various movements alternately faster and slower than the usual rate of repetition. It will probably realised that, of the three, this is the most advanced method.
(How TO USE A BARBELL, W. A. PULLUM)
These paragraphs are extremely informative. Read them carefully.
The first method is not directly applicable to pure MC, but it can be used with SMCR if you use some kind of weights or leverage.
The second method can be used with MC in the following way. Isolate a muscle or muscle group and contract it at approximately half power. Keep the tension for a count of 20 breathings. Relax 1-2 breathings and contract again the same muscle more strongly, but not maximally, for 10 breathings. Relax again for a few breaths. Finally, contract the muscle maximally (without vibrat¬ing or forcing it) and hold the tension 5 breathings. Obviously, the correct ap¬plication of this technique demands a previous mastery of the controls via FTM- CR in order to be able to distinguish the amount of tension that you are gener¬ating.
But, without doubt, a very remarkable progression in MC training can be achieved (beyond the simple increase in tensing power or contraction times) by a smart application of the third method, varying the speed of maximal contrac¬tions and relaxations. This technique can be applied with advantage to both DMC and SMCR bodyweight based exercises.
Perform a muscle isolation and keep a maximal tension for 5-10 breathings. Relax 1-2 breathings and immediately do a sequence of 5-10 ballistic controls of the same muscle. Try to do them as quickly as possible, but with perfect form, relaxing during inhalation and contracting during exhalation. You can re¬peat this in a cyclic form.
Even you can combine both methods. Who said that you cannot progress with MC only? You must include the same number of ballistic controls as the number of breathings you keep the tension in each phase of the exercise. One possible workout is this.
1. SMC(20 breaths) + BMC(20 reps), half tension.
2. SMC(10 breaths) + BMC(10 reps), % full tension.
3. SMC(5 breaths) + BMC(5 reps), maximal tension (without vibrating or for¬cing).
If you practise MC this way with a little addition of SMCR bodyweight exer¬cises, your strength will increase surely and steadily, preserving muscle supple¬ness all your life.
3.15. MC of the muscles of the thorax
3.15.1. Preliminary ISR and DSR exercises
The muscles of the thorax are difficult to isolate by any mechanical means. The deep breathing techniques are not necessary and, in fact, they can be very harmful. MC excels as the safest and most effective exercise for this complex area. The benefits that MC produces on health by means of these exercises are very remarkable. You should soon experience an increased breathing ca¬pacity and better general endurance. Besides, the performance of MC provides you "full tidal breathing", the most relaxing and healthy breathing practice of all.
117 Philosophy, Science and Practice of Maxalding 22.214.171.124. ISR for serratus magnus (MC-serratus-ISR)
The serratus magnus muscles are located below the armpits and over the in¬tercostals. They are seldom used and they are generally atrophied, but they have an important role in demanding activities, when the body needs a high in¬crease of oxygen volume.
These muscles are relatively difficult to isolate because of a lack of develop¬ment in most cases. The following exercise is the best for training it.
Place your hands behind your head with the neck erect or slightly bent back¬wards. Now press the head forwards resisting the movement and keep the pos¬ition with the elbows pointing to the roof. Be very careful with the amount of ten¬sion that you put on the neck. In advanced stages, you should be able to con¬tract the serratus muscles with a minimal amount of pressure over the head.
Keep the tension 5-10 breaths and relax.
It is very important to relax completely the abdominal wall for mastering this isolation.
126.96.36.199. DSR for the serratus (MC-serratus-DSR)
Adopt the same position than in MC-serratus-ISR and bend the upper back slightly and very slowly forwards. Avoid any contraction of the abdominals. You should feel a light tension between the upper ribs.
188.8.131.52. ISR for the intercostals (MC-intercostal-ISR)
Place your hands resting over the hips and bend sideways pressing with the hands for 5-10 breaths each side in the position of maximal contraction. Don't tilt your body very much. A little angle is enough.
184.108.40.206. DSR for the intercostals (MC-intercostal-DSR)
Adopt the same position than in MC-intercostal-ISR, but in this case don't fix the position, but resist with the hands all the motion. Don't tilt your body very much. A little angle is enough (< 30°).
220.127.116.11. Combined DSR + AMR exercise for back and intercostals development
Perform the exercise MC-back-AMR+ISR contracting powerfully the inter¬costals all the time.
This exercise can be performed in a DMC way in advanced stages with better performance.
18.104.22.168. DSR lifting
The DSR exercises for the shoulders can work powerfully the serratus and the intercostals, if you concentrate in these areas.
22.214.171.124. ISR for the pectorals (MC-pectoral-ISR)
You can distinguish three pectoral zones: lower, medium and upper. All these areas should be worked with the same intensity. This is the reason for the relat¬ively large number of positions in this case.
Exercise 1 (MC-pectoral-ISR-1). Grasp your hands in front of your chest with arms semiflexed. Press inwards powerfully (without strain), keep the tension 5¬10 breathings and relax.
Exercise 2 (MC-pectoral-ISR-2). Grasp your hands in front of your chest with arms semiflexed. Pull outwards powerfully (without strain), keep the tension 5¬10 breathings and relax.
Exercise 3 (MC-pectoral-ISR-3). Grasp your hands in front of your abdomen with arms semiflexed. Press inwards powerfully (without strain), keep the ten¬sion 5-10 breathings and relax.
Exercise 4 (MC-pectoral-ISR-4). Grasp your hands in front of your abdomen with arms semiflexed. Pull outwards powerfully (without strain), keep the ten¬sion 5-10 breathings and relax.
Exercise 5 (MC-pectoral-ISR-5). Stretch your arms to both sides of the body and try to touch both hands while you press firmly the arms against the pector¬als. You may need to bend your shoulders forward as far as you can. Contract the whole pectorals, count 5-10 breaths and relax. Be careful and increase the tension slowly, because in this position, the pectorals are prone to some cramp¬ing.
126.96.36.199. DSR exercises for the pectorals (MC-pectoral-DSR)
Exercise 1 (MC-pectoral-DSR-1). Assume the position of MC-pectoral-ISR-3 and raise your arms over head while you inhale, keeping the inwards tension all time. Lower your arms from top to bottom position while you are exhaling with the same tension. Repeat 5 times and relax.
Women should begin the motion from the position of MC-pectoral-ISR-2 be¬cause this contribute to an improvement of the natural shape of the breasts. The whole movement from top to bottom produces a muscular and masculine shape, but the half movement from chest to top generates the development of the upper section of the pectorals, giving a pleasant feminine shape.
Exercise 2 (MC-pectoral-DSR-2). Assume the position of MC-pectoral-ISR-4 and raise your arms over head while you inhale, keeping the outwards tension all time. Lower your arms from top to bottom position while you are exhaling with the same tension. Repeat 5 times and relax.
Women should begin the motion from the position of MC-pectoral-ISR-1 be¬cause this contribute to an improvement of the natural shape of the breasts.
188.8.131.52. Pectoral stretching (MC-pectoral-stretch)
Exercise 1 (MC-pectoral-stretch-1). Interlace your hands behind the lower back. Stretch your arms downwards and bring your shoulders backwards as far as as you can. Contract the pectorals in this position for 5-10 breathings and re¬lax.
Exercise 2 (MC-pectoral-stretch-2). Stretch your arms backwards forming an angle of about 45° with the vertical line. Try to put together both arms. You
should feel an intense stretching of the pectorals. Be careful with this exercise and don't force the position. Keep the stretch for 5-10 breathings and relax.
The pectoral stretching must be performed after the MC pectoral exercises.
3.15.2. AMR exercises for the thorax
Now, we know the differences between AMR and DMC, so the exercises I shall describe as AMR should not imply antagonistic action any more.
3.15.3. BL exercises for the thorax
In this section I will study only individual exercises. The combined exercises, much more productive and funny, will be analysed in next articles.
184.108.40.206. Push ups
This is the key exercise for thorax development. This exercise can be done very progressively, from beginners to very advanced athletes.
1. Stand erect in front of a wall with arms stretched in front of you at chest height. Bend your arms as far as you touch the wall with your chest. Try to keep the body as straight as you can all the way. Repeat 1-5 times and re¬lax. Synchronize your motions with your breaths. Inspire during raising and expire during lowering. Do the lowering motion as slow as you can.
2. Lie prone on the floor with your body weight supported by the knees and the hands with arms stretched. Try to lower the body, keeping the back straight, and raise again. Avoid any kind of jerky motions. Repeat 1-5 times and relax.
3. Lie prone on the floor with your body weight evenly distributed among your hands and your toes with the body completely straight. With arms stretched at shoulder width, lower your body as fas as you touch slightly the floor with your chest, but without resting your weight. Raise again very slowly, if you want to develop strength, or as quick as you can with perfect form (almost bouncing), if you want to increase power, and repeat 1-5 times.
4. Do the same than in (3), but now tilt your body to one side all the way as far as you can in order to overload each arm alternatively. When you have performed 1 rep, turn to the other arm and repeat. Do 1-5 reps with each arm and relax.
5. Application of Pullum's method of progression (slow + quick) for fixed res¬istance. Do a very slow (5-10 breaths per rep) tilted push up (4) with each arm without rest. Immediately do 5 reps of normal push ups with the weight evenly distributed. Do 1-5 reps and relax. This is a demanding ex¬ercise.
6. The same than (5), but in this case, do 5 quick alternating reps with the weight tilted alternatively. This is a kind of slow + quick upper body wave movement.
7. If you are able to do the above variation, you can try the one arm push up. Adopt the position (6) but now open your legs as far as they form an angle between 45° and 90°. Raise one arm and rest it in the leg or behind the back. Press firmly with the other arm and try to descend slowly as far as you can. Try to touch the floor without resting and elevate yourself again. Do 1-5 reps. This is a very advanced exercise and should be performed only for testing purposes and not for daily training, because it is very de¬manding for the joints.
8. One arm one leg push up. Do (7) while you raise the leg of the same side than the working arm. This exercise demands a lot of strength, skill and balance.
9. You can make (8) harder trying to move closer your legs, decreasing the angle between them.
10. Apply the Pullum's method to (9).
The following exercises are of a hand balancing kind. They are not abso¬lutely necessary for strength development, because they are very skilful, de¬manding and stressing, but they produce very good results. They should not be practised daily, except if you are a gymnast. I will not describe here, because they are not strict Maxalding exercises and I do not practise them.
1. Frog stance.
2. Frog push up.
4. Planche push up.
5. One hand planche stance.
6. Alligator walk.
220.127.116.11. Raising from prone position
This is a kind of push up which begins with a prone cross position and ends in a normal push up posture.
This is a very advanced exercise and one of the best for pectoral strength, mass development, definition, and endurance.
Adopt a prone position with arms stretched to both sides in a cross form. Raise slightly your shoulders in order to be able to press firmly the floor with your palms. Now, press firmly and explosively against the floor and raise your body. You will probably achieve a posture between the initial one and the nor¬mal push up. Keep your body straight all the time, this is very important. After this, progress slowly to the normal push up position in little steps.
1. When you are in top position, try to return to initial one in little steps, very slowly.
2. Avoid any sliding of hands. The sliding is not safe and makes the exercise less demanding in general.
3. Do 1-5 reps of the exercise, both raising and lowering without rest.
It is not necessary to do many reps of the advanced exercises if you care for perfect form and control. Remember always the energy conservation advice.
3.16. Isolation of the muscles of the thorax
3.16.1. Serratus magnus (MC-serratus)
The pure voluntary isolation of these muscles are difficult, but it deserves careful attention because of its effects over general endurance and because it is a very nice and impressive control.
Adopt the position of MC-serratus-ISR and try to reduce progressively the hand pressure on the back of the head. Concentrate in the upper ribcage in this position, feel the tension and intensify it. You will discovery how much strong can be this contraction in advanced stages if you practice this control with pa¬tience.
The best method to reduce the mechanical assistance in any control is the following:
1. Adopt the isolation position and perform the exercise keeping maximal (without vibrating or strain) contraction for 3-5 breaths.
2. Try to reduce the amount of mechanical tension a few, compensating it with definite mental contraction, and keep this contraction during 1 breath. Don't rest in between, this is very important in order to teach the body how to isolate voluntarily the muscle. If you rest between steps (1) and (2), your mind would find very difficult to learn the mental isolation.
3. Repeat the step (2) 1-5 times trying to decrease the mechanical tension progressively with each breath, but keeping the same level of contraction mentally. Master this technique until you are able to eliminate completely the hand pressure.
The difficult point here is to avoid any parasite contraction of the abdominals. If the abdomen is contracted, this can inhibit the isolation of the serratus. Try to relax also the intercostals, it is not very difficult if you have relaxed previously the abdomen.
Apply the Pullum's progression method to this control when you master the isolation and repeat 2-3 times. Relax very consciously these muscles after the performance and never strain them because they can displace the ribs to some extent.
3.16.2. Intercostals (MC-intercostal)
This is one of the controls about which Maxick said "it is easier to do than to explain".
The mechanical control is very easy, because you can feel the tension simply tilting your body to one side. Once you have the mechanical tension, you must
try to increase it by means of mental concentration.
The aforementioned method is very easy, but it is not optimal, because it im¬plies a crushing of the muscles between the ribs. This is peak contraction, but not pure MC. Besides, in this position, the intercostals are not shown in their most beautiful appearance.
Put one hand resting, without any pressure, on head with arm semiflexed and the elbow pointing in front. Now tilt slightly to the same side than the flexed arm and turn your torso to the opposite side slowly as far as you feel the maximal contraction and a clear separation of the muscles. Sometimes a slight raising of the corresponding hip can help the contraction. This was one of the most im¬pressive Maxick's poses.
The pure voluntary control is achieved reducing progressively the tilting and turning angles of the thorax and keeping the tension level. Finally, you should be able to contract very powerfully the intercostals in a neutral erect position. Very frequently a strong contraction in this area tend to contract very intensely the upper section of the rectus abdominis. Try to relax this spurious tension as far as you can, because this isolation between intercostals and abdominal muscles can be very important in the performance of advanced controls, for ex-ample, if you want to isolate only one side.
Extreme MC for the intercostals.
The final aim of MC of the intercostals would be the effective isolation of each section of the intercostals. There are internal and external intercostals. They are very difficult to feel separately. This can be achieved applying the FTMCR technique. In low and medium tension levels, the muscles that contract are generally the external ones. If you increase your tension remarkably, you can feel the subsequent powerful contraction of the internal layers, that are able to "change" the shape of the rib cage.
I have had some very limited success with the isolation of each individual in¬tercostal muscle. The use of AMC (analytical muscle control) is fundamental. It is easier to contract first the lower intercostals and relax the upper ones, but the complete isolation of a single intercostal between the surrounding ones de¬mands far more dedication and patience than most controls and it can be con¬sidered a real challenge in Maxalding. I do not know if such isolation is even physiologically possible, because there are not references about it. It seems that nobody tried it. In spite of this, I shall make a great effort to master this kind of control, if it is possible, in order to explain it in future writings.
A very important advice, never strain yourself trying to perform the intercostal controls, because you can sprain or tear some tissues. This happen generally when you do not relax properly the abdomen and its contraction reinforces the effect over the ribs.
3.16.3. Pectorals (MC-pectoral)
The progressive isolation of the pectorals is achieved by means of a decreas¬ing in the amount of self-resistance tension applied in MC-pectoral-ISR-1,..,5. You should keep the tension with mental concentration only without hand or arm pressure.
The pure voluntary control of the pectorals is mastered in one of the less fa¬vourable positions for the contraction of these muscles . Stand erect with the back slightly rounded forward and keep your arms stretched to both sides in a crucifix position with palms facing forward. Now try to contract the pectorals without moving the arms.
This control can be difficult in spite of the mastering of the other pectoral con¬tractions. One progression method to achieve it is the following.
Perform MC-pectoral-ISR-5 and open your arms to the sides very slowly try¬ing to keep the tension all the time as far as you reach the crucifix position. In the first performances probably you will not be able to keep the tension in the wider posture, but be patient and practice it with full concentration.
This exercise can be turned into a pure DMC exercise in this way. Stretch your arms in front of you with touching palms at chest level. Contract powerfully your pectorals and open your arms slowly to both sides keeping the arms stretched and the tension uniform as far as you adopt a crucifix position. Inhale in this phase. Now, return to the initial position in the same manner while you are exhaling.
You can practice this pectoral DMC lying prone over the floor or you can ap¬ply it to wide push-ups in a SMCR fashion.
Be very careful relaxing the back muscles in order to isolate the action of the pectorals from the contraction of the latissimus dorsi.
3.17. Breathing techniques
There are a lot of controversial opinions about breathing techniques in Phys¬ical Culture. Some authors opine that everybody possesses a "natural" form of breathing and that it is unnecessary to teach any improvement of this. This was the Strongfort's statement. This neutral breathing is not really dangerous and it have sense to some extent, but it is not the best.
Many physical culturists, like Liederman and Macfadden, advocated "deep breathing" exercises in order to increase the lung power and capacity. Such practices are unnecessary in most cases and they can be very harmful in some people who force and strain the thorax trying to increase its circumference.
Finally, there are some "experts", generally influenced by some oriental prac¬tices, that recommend the so called "abdominal breathing" without a clear un¬derstanding of the body functions or confuse it with diaphragmatic breathing. The inhalation and exhalation by means of the forcing of abdominal muscles, like the rectus abdominis, is very detrimental and defeats the purpose of im¬proving breathing and blood oxygenation. This kind of breathing is known by the "potty belly" form that the abdomen shows during the inhalation.
The only healthy and natural kind of breathing is diaphragmatic breathing, called in Maxalding, "full tidal breathing". When you see the breaths of a sleep¬ing baby, you see full tidal breathing. The baby only expands its rib cage in all directions forming a slight natural vacuum in the abdomen during exhalation. There is not any swelling of the abdomen. In many cases, the quick and power¬ful rhythmic action of the diaphragm muscle is clearly visible.
Monte Saldo cared a lot about the correct performance and teaching of dia¬phragmatic breathing, because this represents one of the key points of the Maxalding system.
The texts and explanations are very clear, but we should not be worried about thinking all time about the correctness of your breathing technique. In fact, one of the most marvellous effects of MC over health is the automatic im¬provement in posture, breathing and digestion. The thorax exercises shown in this article are able to develop diaphragmatic breathing by themselves.
Controversy has waxed fast and furious between advocates of different methods of breathing, whereas there should only be one kind of breathing, and that is FULL TID¬AL BREATHING. When the newly born child takes its first breath, its inspires an ap¬proximation of one hundred cubic inches of air, and retains it throughout life . This is known as the residual capacity, and although constantly changed it can never be ex¬pelled from he lungs. The air that is inspired and expired completing what is called res-piration, is known as the TIDAL AIR. To a certain degree, respiration is an involuntary function, continuing as it does throughout sleep or coma. But voluntary assistance can be given with great benefit to the health, because the tidal breathing may thereby be considerably increased in capacity. A master of full tidal breathing can breathe to suit all and sundry, including singing masters, who think it necessary to teach their stu¬dents to force their stomachs out in form of a balloon, and misname it the diaphragm. Full tidal breathing is essential to the development of full potential energy. The average person is unfortunately a shallow breather, and often a mouth breather, particularly during sleep. A Maxalding breather is a deep-breather and a nose-breather . He can¬not help himself, for a mastery of Exercises 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Maxalding builds up the in¬tercostal (between ribs) muscles, and makes a full volume of air simple to inspire. A shallow breather is often anaemic for his blood is not relieved thoroughly of the waste products, nor is it sufficiently oxygenated in its passage through the lungs. The inspira¬tion and the expiration should both take place through the nostrils.
in reply to gentlemen who have so far shown their ignorance as to refer to deep- breathing as nosense, and who argue that the time to breathe deeply is after exercise or strenuous exertion. i would point out that if you have not previously loosened and made supple the muscles surrounding and enclosing the thorax, as well as the inter¬costal muscles you will not be able to breathe deeply after exertion, and the result will be breathlessness and distress. This will be caused by the heart vainly struggling to get an adequate supply of oxygen from the lungs to cope with the additional blood cir¬culation. The right and inelastic thorax does not allow the lungs to expand and the res¬pirations become more forced and frequent, and the heart-beats become more fre¬quent also until actual palpitation results. If the strain is kept out, collapse will follow. Heart exhaustion and the actual organic disease may result from much repetition of this sort of thing, and even if the heart can stand up to it for a time, it cannot do so in¬definitely. That it is why it is uncommon to find a person over forty years of age with a normal and sound heart. Upon exertion, therefore, anticipate the demands of that are going to be made in the way of oxygen, and increase your respiration to its full poten¬tial limit without strain. This precaution will prevent the heart from thumping and palpit¬ating.
Then there is a man who tells you only to breathe abdominally. A good answer will be to advise him only to use one eye for reading. His pet argument is that if you inspire deeply, the lungs will become emphysematous, but the fact that the worst sufferers of emphysema are people who perform upon wind instruments, and the prolonged and unnatural resistance to expiration causes a loss of elasticity in the walls of the pulmon¬ary alveoli, is a complete exposure of the fallacy of such an argument. People who suf¬fer with chronic coughs often become similarly affected.
Then it is quite reasonable to suppose that full tidal breathing can be carried out in the same intelligent and sensible way as other functions. Because a person has the wisdom to use the whole of the lungs that Nature has supplied with him, he need not go black in the face over it.
Besides, as has already been pointed out earlier in the book, Maxalding lung-capa¬city is not gained by forced deep breathing, but by the use of ingenious exercises, such as Exercise 2, wherein by a simple manipulation, the shoulder blades are used as a pair of hands might be, to stretch and loosen the muscles surrounding the thorax. So effective is this thoracic movement -independently of the lungs- that Maxalding is used with great benefit by persons suffering from emphysema, because the action of the lungs can be replaced to a considerable extent by the voluntary expansion and contraction of the thorax. Air can thus be drawn into -and expelled from- the lungs, in appreciable volume.
All opinions can be speedily settled as to the relative merits of Maxalding and other methods upon the respiration, by testing the lung capacity immediately before begin¬ning Maxalding and then three months later. It is, of course, assumed that the student would have previously been using another method if the test could be considered fair to other methods.
A common cause of mouth breathing is the deadly and disgusting nasal catarrh. One of the several essentials for the cure of nasal catarrh is nasal respiration. Another important essential is pure air, even though it be cold air. All persons who work in fumes or dust-laden air should use a nasal respirator or handkerchief tied across the face, and the mouth should be kept closed.
Nasal irrigation can safely be carried out at home, but nothing stronger than warm salt water should be used. Under no circumstances should any douche, syringe or oth¬er instrument be used unless under direct Medical instruction. Two teaspoonfuls of salt to a pint of water at blood heat will be correct as to dilution and temperature. First cleanse the nasal cavities by sniffing the liquid up the nostrils and then expelling it again. Then close one nostril with the finger, and draw the solution up the other nostril and expel it through the mouth. Treat the other nostril in exactly the same way. This operation should be carried out before food is taken, and not on a full stomach, as it is apt to cause retching at first. If there is severe internal irritation in the nasal cavities, this can be allayed by the insertion of a small quantity of refined vaseline very carefully into the nostrils, which should then be worked up into the passages by closing the nos¬trils with the thumb and forefinger of one hand and using the thumb and forefinger of the other hand to coax the vaseline upward, by employing a gentle squeezing move¬ment. For a few days this treatment may make nasal breathing more difficult, but when this preliminary condition passes off, permanent benefit will be experienced.
When there is not catarrh and the passage of air through the nostrils is free, the only treatment required is the full tidal breathing, unless the work is of a nature that makes the inhalation of irritating matter compulsory. In that case occasional treatment as above will be necessary. it may be added that at no part of the proceeding should force be employed, and if any exceptional irritation be experienced, the treatment should be discontinued occasionally to give the membranes rest.
(THE MAXALDING BOOK, MONTE SALDO)
Full tidal breathing, as the term implies, indicates the full use of the organs of respir¬ation. Deep breathing as generally taught and understood, involves a full, or even a forced, inspiration of the breath, which is not necessarily deep breathing. it may actu¬ally be shallow breathing. The ridiculous method of holding the body erect with the chest pushed out like a pouter-pigeon, is unpleasant and exhausting, and will even cause dizziness and actual fainting.
(NATURE'S WAY TO HEALTH, MONTE SALDO)
Mere chest suppleness alone will not give endurance. The actual muscles that work in expansion and deflation of the chest must be well developed, toned and strong[...]. Maxalding develops all the muscles connected with the function of breathing together with maximum mobilization of the rib-box. In this way resistance to respiratory dis¬orders is increased and real stamina acquired.
(MAXALDING BROCHURE, COURT SALDO)
In spite of a good deal of controversy between advocates of different forms of breathing, all intelligent persons know that there are only one normally correct form of breathing, and that is full-tidal breathing. There is the specialized anti-rhythmic breathing for running and another strenuous forms of physical activity, which will be explained and described presently. Holding of the breath is also necessary during cer¬tain physical efforts, and a form of breathing wherein sudden inhalations are taken via the mouth is necessary in certain swimming strokes. But the correct for of breathing for ordinary occasions is full-tidal breathing, and so that there will be no doubt in the mind of the reader, I will go fully into the subject as far as a layman is able to do so, and then you can convince yourself by actual test that my advice is sound, technically accurate, and free of all prejudice and bias.
Let me first deal with the simple mechanics of the respiration. They are approxim¬ately as follows. The lungs are normally in a semi-distended state in the air-tight thor¬ax, the cavity of which they, together with the heart and other organs, completely fill. By the contraction of certain muscles the capacity of the thorax is enlarged, and this causes the air to enter the lungs via the windpipe. This constitutes inspiration. Upon the relaxation of the same muscles and by the elasticity of certain muscles of the chest walls, aided by the contraction of certain (possibly involuntary) muscles, the thorax re¬sumes its original size, and thus the air is expelled from the lungs. This constitutes ex¬piration. In normal breathing the thorax never reaches its maximum expansion or con¬traction, but in laboured respiration brought on by exertion, or controlled respiration brought about a by a voluntary increased contraction of the respiratory muscles and the pulling down of the diaphragm, maximum inspiration can be attained, while a re¬versal of the process establishes maximum expiration.
The raising of the chest by the elevation of the ribs is a more complex matter than the descent of the diaphragm, and is achieved principally through the medium of the external intercostal (between rib) muscles and the serratus magnus muscle. The former enlarge the the spaces between the ribs, and the latter -as it passes from the shoulder blade to the middle of the first eight or nine ribs, raises the ribs when the shoulders are fixed, and is therefore the most important muscle of inspiration. Here I must digress for a moment to point out that the usual belief that very supple and slim persons have the best breathing capacity is fallacious. It is such people that are usu-ally physically weak and victims of pulmonary troubles. The better the bulk and the de¬velopment of the respiratory muscles, the greater will be the rib separation be when the impulse of the inspiration is active. So, while suppleness is an essential to full tidal breathing, it is not the only essential, and those desirous of gaining superlative endur¬ance should master the control exercises of full shoulder blade expansion, and those exercises that isolate and develop the serratus magnus muscle, as an indispensable foundation.
We are told that when the new-born infant takes its first breath it inspires an approx¬imation of one hundred cubic inches of air. This is known as the residual capacity, and although constantly changed during respiration, the lungs can never be emptied of air during life.
Breathing is an involuntary function, continuing as it does throughout sleep and coma, but voluntary acceleration and increased capacity can be made with benefit to the health and a great saving of work to the heart under strenuous activity, as you will be able to prove to your own satisfaction if not already convinced of the fact.
Before dealing with breath control it may be necessary once more the two main fal¬lacies that seem to be trotted out on every possible occasion by self-styled physical training experts, who always seem to be able to get limitless space in the Press . The first is the ridiculous advice to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. The so-called experts want us to go about looking like fish. if this were the natural method of breathing we would see babies opening and closing their mouths every few seconds. Except under stress, respiration should be absolutely nasal. Under the stress of great physical exertion some persons find themselves unable to inspire sufficient air through the nose, and then only is there a proper reason to mouth breathing. Mouth breathing is often used by runners for this reason, and not because it is the correct way to breathe .
The other fallacy is that we should breathe "abdominally." Not one, but many writers who ought to know better state that thoracic breathing is wrong, and that abdominal breathing is the natural method. Do they think that the lungs reside in the abdominal cavity? They even try to convince us that the greater tidal capacity is gained by this so- called abdominal breathing. I suggest that some of this gentlemen, all of whom seem to show a bulge where the waist line should be, advocate this distension of the abdom¬inal wall at the completion of inspiration as an excuse of their own unfitness.
First let us consider the effect of the abdominal organs by this downward pressure. The organs are displaced downwards some twenty times each minute, and an actual situation of enteroptosis is created . But even if we ignore the danger of this form of breathing, and come to the question of tidal capacity, we find that this form of breath¬ing inhibits full inspiration. You can prove it for yourself in this way. Keep the chest flat and fixed as advised by advocates of the so-called abdominal breathing and inspire the breath until you can get no more air into the lungs. You will find that the abdominal wall curve outwards in a greater or lesser degree, according to your physical condition. Then, after full inspiration has been accomplished in this definitely bad position, lift the chest and continue the inspiration until you have again completed the inspiration.
You will find that two things have defeated the argument of the abdominal breathers. The first is that you can take in a greater volume of air, and the second is that the ab¬dominal distension has practically disappeared. You will further find that if the thorax is fully expanded, and you have taken in your limit of air, the abdomen will not distend appreciably. This proves definitely that the so-called abdominal breathing is completely useless, and any person capable of understanding the effect of downward pressure on the abdominal organs will understand also that Nature would hardly enforce a dis¬placement of the internal organs under the natural exertion of running, with the neces¬sity of an increased supply of air. Did you ever see a racehorse or greyhound bulging like a balloon when racing? The "abdominal" breathing and other age-old fallacies have to be contradicted and fought all the time, because for some unfathomable reas¬on, the more obviously foolish such fallacies are, the more honour they seem to bring to their supporters. You can now prove otherwise and so help in the fight against a dangerous and out-of-date superstition . It is best not to waste time arguing about it, but to prove by practical demonstration that you are right. If the danger were only con¬fined to athleticism, that would be quite so bad, but the forced inhibition of chest breathing is a potent cause of tuberculosis and susceptibility to pneumonia, for a fixed thorax prevents a proper clearance of the lungs .
How to use full-tidal breathing
1. INSPIRATION. Allow the impulse of inspiration to have its way as long as possible. Allow the ribs to expand in all directions and not merely forward and upward, but allow the chest to raise just as much as it will as well. Adopt any position that al¬lows more air to enter the lungs, even to the raising of the shoulders slightly. Do not inhibit any slight expansion of the abdominal wall after the thorax has gained full expansion. Although in a fit person the abdominal expansion will be almost negligible, the diaphragm does exert a slight downward pressure on the abdom¬inal viscera. If the abdominal wall is contracted it is possible that the inspiration might be slightly reduced, and in any strenuous activity every cubic inch of air is of value. All athletic contestants must be sure that their costumes do not restrict the breathing or cause any pressure above the navel. It is not even sufficient for a boxer that his second takes the strain off the elastic band of his shorts only during the rest between rounds. A boxer should be free of any such pressure throughout a contest. This may seem to labour an unnecessary point in view of my condemnation of the so-called abdominal breathing, but I would point out that a tired performer is not likely to get proper thoracic movement while collapsed in a chair or on a stool, and the inhibition of the slight abdominal movement would, under the circumstances, be inadvisable. We must realize, too, that a fit man in fighting form has refined and well-toned abdominal organs and correctly condi¬tioned abdominal wall. This would ensure no harm accruing from the slight and temporary pressure that would be exerted on healthy abdominal organs under such conditions. Similar conditions apply to the runner or follower of any sport that involves the kind of exertion demanding generous blood-oxygenation.
2. EXPIRATION. At the completion of the full potential inspiration allow the air to es¬cape as easily as possible by allowing the chest to collapse and the abdomen to depress. Thus you will reduce the residual capacity and increase the tidal capa¬city, and in so doing eliminate poisons more speedily from the blood, and corres¬pondingly increase potential blood-oxygenation during the inspiration that fol¬lows. The expiration must be carried out smoothly and rhythmically, and not as a series of exercises as this dissection might cause one to believe. It might be well at this juncture to remind the reader of the important fact that if respiration can be increased to correspond to the requirements of the physical effort, fatigue will be delayed and the heart will not be overworked. So the runner especially is ad¬vised to use full-tidal breathing voluntarily, and even anti-rhythmic breathing, which will be now described.
This method of breathing can be used effectively and mechanically during all run¬ning except the short sprint, and it can be used on the sports field during any game, and especially during those movements when one is out of play, as frequently occurs during Soccer, Rugger, Hockey and so on. Let me give you a preliminary warning at this point. The old doddering die-hards will recoil with horror at anything so irrelevant in sports as a new method of breathing. which reminds me of one critic of running, who, on hearing the term "anti-rhythmic breathing", condemned it instantly as "dot-and- dash" breathing, and in the same article stated that a contestant in the 100 yards sprint should hold the breath for exactly 60 yards. Why exactly sixty yards was not ex¬plained, but of this anon. Let me say here that certain champions runners are using this method, and if you use it you will prove by yourself what and aid it is to endur¬ance, and the prevention of leg-weariness, heart palpitation and general distress. It is not a normal means of breathing, but it is natural in so far as the intelligent athlete can use the voluntary powers with which Nature has endowed him to combat fatigue and distress.
Is it natural for the breath to be held during sprinting? I think it is, for reasons that every sprinter proves for himself, and which will be explained later in this book.
Now let us study the effect of rhythmic breathing , with the object of showing the reason of anti-rhythmic breathing. When the respiration is rhythmic, identical periods are occupied in the inspiration and expiration of the breath. It follows therefore, that it takes a long for the poisons to be expelled from the lungs as for the clear air to enter. The object of anti-rhythmic respiration is to shorten the period of expiration and thus allow more time for the periods of inspiration. Consequently it must be obvious that a speedier of the air creates a dual advantage. The first advantage is that poisons must be more speedily eliminated, thus delaying tissue-congestion, and appreciably post¬poning fatigue. The second advantage is that a longer period of inspiration of air, in re¬lation to expiration, will permit a greater supply of oxygen to the blood.
Let us assume that the rhythmic respiration of a runner was proceeding at a rate of one inspiration during six strides. This would mean that in a series of eight hundred strides he would be inspiring during four hundred strides and expiring breath during four hundred strides. But if this runner were to reduce the period of each expiration to two strides, but continue the period of each inspiration over six strides, in a distance of eight hundred strides he would be inspiring breath during six hundred and expiring the breath during only two hundred strides. The runner has not increased the actual period of each inspiration, but has decreased the period of expiration by two-thirds. And over the same distance he would be taken in far more oxygen than would be possible by the usual rhythmic method of breathing. I am not submitting this method of breathing apologetically, but because it has been thoroughly tested and found efficacious. You can test it by yourself. Give it a fair trial by taking a proper timing over a definite dis-tance. Try the distance with the usual rhythmic breathing, and after a proper rest, time yourself again, but with anti-rhythmic breathing this time. You will find that you will do better time, or, alternatively, the same time can be accomplished as previously, but with less leg-weariness or distress. But you cannot make a fair test until you have studied anti-rhythmic breathing and practised it until it becomes mechanical.
How to study anti-rhythmic breathing
This a science that is not easy to master to a degree that admits of mechanical per¬formance during running. But it must be thoroughly mastered if it is to provide its full advantages. It should become mechanical, for running has other details for conscious consideration during a race, and unless concentration is maintained on the execution of the correct stride and action, one cannot expect to run one's best race. Therefore steady and persistent application should be applied to this method of breathing until it becomes mechanical during running.
First just try a gentle trot, inspiring during six easy strides, or until the full inspiration has been gained without discomfort. (I use the term "without discomfort" advisedly, for under exertion a really powerful inspiration would slightly inhibit the heart's action.) Then, as soon as the full inspiration has been achieved, suddenly but quite easily, col¬lapse the chest walls and expel the breath as completely and quickly as possible. Then immediately start the inspiration again. Different runners have different reactions to this, for while most find the ratio of six strides for inspiration against two strides for ex¬piration comfortable, others prefer to work six against three, or even six against four. One great sprinter, who is also a good half-miler, uses this method in most of his dis¬tances, for even he has to hold the breath for certain distance in the sprints, he be¬lieves in getting his next breath in as quickly as possible, and this suit the strenuous action of the sprint. In the half mile he takes the air in easily and steadily as it were, but throws it suddenly as thought to trying to empty the whole of the lungs.
So here you have the scheme to work out in your own way. When you have mastered it, study it in conjunction with proper arm action, so that you can then devote all your attention to the race and to acceleration and action of the stride at the right time in perfect style. As a preliminary trial, however, I recommend inspiration during six strides and expiration during two strides. Towards the end of the race it may be found that the rhythm changes entirely, but this is not likely to happen to the thoroughly trained runner, who knows exactly what he can do and keeps to a definite scheme which he knows will give the best results [...].
The team sportsman can regain normal respiration very speedily after a sprint or any fast work (such as an attack on the opponent's goal) by using anti-rhythmic breathing. This will also pre-oxygenate the blood for ease and speed in the following efforts. The anti-rhythmic breathing can be used while the player is moving about and not necessarily while standing still.
Holding the breath for resistance
It is not generally known that all animals that can strike with the forepaw, such as the lion, have been provided by Nature with the glottis or false vocal cords. When the glottis is closed, respiration is completely inhibited . This sets up two conditions. The first is greater resistance of any part of the torso to pressure of blows -for, like an in¬flated football, shock absorption would be spread over a greater area- and internal air pressure would automatically distribute the shock evenly in the body and o the internal organs. The second condition that is set up is a greater point of resistance to physical effort. Thus we get an increase in defensive power and resistance to pressure or blows, together with an increase in attacking strength. Increased speed in the move¬ment is also achieved.
We must realize, however, that for full effect to be gained in defence to blows or pressure, simultaneously with a closing of the glottis a voluntary contraction of the ab¬dominal wall should be secured. In unpremeditated resistance only, it is not possible to have any definite proportion of air in the lungs, for at the period of the expiration of the breath a boxer, for instance, might be struck in the region of the solar plexus. He would therefore simultaneously close the glottis and contract the abdominal wall if he had no time for any other method of defence, such as stopping, parrying the blow, or side-stepping. He could incidently use the resistance method of defence, while using his arms for offence and probably with good effect owing to the improved point of res¬istance set up for his counter blow.
In premeditated resistance, however, any necessary degree of lung inflation may be applied prior to the effort. In most instances an almost complete inspiration of the breath would be of the greatest help, but there may be certain exceptions, and no irre-vocable rule can be made at this point. Approximately, the inspiration should be as complete as the best bodily position for the particular feat allows.
Test and master the holding of the breath with the contracting of the abdominal wall in the following manner. During any degree of inspiration or expiration of the breath give the abdominal wall a quick tap with the stiffened fingers of the hand. This must not be hard at first, for you are testing the speed of the voluntary contraction of the ab¬dominal wall. You may find that there is a short expulsion of the breath. Then try again, but this time close the glottis (hold the breath) swiftly enough to prevent the expulsion of any air from the throat. When you are proficient enough to prevent the expulsion of any air, try contracting the abdominal muscles at the same time. It is necessary to master the closing of the glottis before the contracting of the abdominal wall, because some persons do the latter automatically, but not the former. observation will usually show that a person struck in the abdomen will bring the head forward and contract the abdominal wall, while the expulsion of the air will be heard in the form of a rushing sound, rather than the grunt of one who is trying to hold the breath. Study and practise this from all degrees of inflation and deflation of the lungs, to develop a perfect reflex in this connection for defensive or possibly offensive purposes in games. It is particu¬larly valuable in cricket (batting), tennis, boxing, wrestling, Soccer and Rugger where any unpremeditated movements become necessary.
Holding the breath for premeditated effort is a simple matter, and in cases where great physical strength is necessary, such as in taking a heavy weight to arm's length overhead, pre-oxygenation of the blood is advised, by the use of full tidal breathing for a suitable period before the effort.
This pre-oxygenation of the blood is the secret of the best efforts in sprinting, jump¬ing and even getting a fast and easy start in middle distance running. The specific ap¬plication of the pre-oxygenation of the blood will be dealt with as occasion arises.
The athlete who wants to get the very best out of himself should study and practise:
1. Full-tidal breathing.
2. Anti-rhythmic breathing.
3. The sudden holding of the breath and contracting of the abdominal wall for concen¬trated effort and defence.
(HOW TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, MONTE SALDO)
To this excellent and extremely informative Saldo's writing, I want to add a breathing method which is very useful in developing extreme concentration and relaxation techniques.
This method is based in Maxalding full tidal breathing, the only difference is the voluntary timing of the expiration. This practice must not be confused at all with a holding of the breath, because it should be achieved progressively and never forced. You must listen your body in order to expire over the correct peri¬od. Anti-rhythmic breathing can be considered a quick variant of this (almost opposite in performance).
3.17.1. Slow MC breathing (SMCB)
1. Take a full tidal inspiration, without forcing the lungs or the thorax in any case. Note the contraction of the thorax muscles and try to intensify them in order to help the breath motion. Concentrate especially in the lateral ex¬pansion of the shoulder blades and in the volume increase produced by the action of the serratus and intercostals. Sometimes, the practice of this form of respiration while you are lying comfortably in bed can help to learn it correctly. In such case, rest your arms slightly open in order to allow a full thorax and shoulder blade expansion and collapse.
2. Now, expire as slowly as you can, controlling the involved muscles and progressively relaxing their contraction. The main muscles that should be progressively relaxed are the serratus, the intercostals and the diaphragm.
It is extremely important not to hold the breath. This is a very natural breath¬ing technique, if you are able to synchronize your exhaling timing period with your oxygen demands. Obviously, the controlled breathing is not adequate for endurance activities, but it is ideal for MC, especially for its controlled ballistic practice.
When you begin to perform BMC (ballistic muscle control), it is very usual to force the expiration in order to increase the contraction feeling of the muscles. This is an severe error. In fact, the ballistic action should be slowly controlled with the expiration.
Adopt the position corresponding to a concrete isolation and raise the tension in the muscle while you control carefully the relaxation of the muscles involved in the collapse of the thoracic box during expiration.
The controlled breathing method is perfect (and should be the only one) for the application of the Pullum's progression technique (slow + quick) to MC.
In a next article we will study the relaxation techniques and we will discover how muscle controlled breathing is the key to extreme relaxation states and the way to achieve the control of some important internal organs, like the heart.
After reading all this information, you may think that the learning of full tidal breathing is a difficult task. This is not the case. In the first Maxalding courses, Monte Saldo advices this.
When you are exercising and when you are in the open air, I want you to make a habit of full-tidal breathing.
By this I mean that you should make full use of the lungs, inspiring and expiring the breath to the fullest extent with each respiration.
But do not force the breathing, as this may cause dizziness.
Just take long, regular and steady breaths, keeping the mouth closed the whole time, of course.
In time, when the chest becomes large, loose and supple through the performance of the Maxalding exercises, this form of breathing will come naturally.
> Full tidal breathing is the most effective and natural form of breathing in most situations. It should not be confused with forced inspiration or hyper- ventilation practices.
> Full tidal breathing is absolutely safe and very beneficial to health. It must be learned progressively in conjunction with the MC of the thorax.
> Abdominal breathing should never be used in any circumstance.
> Some special situations demand some other breathing methods. These methods involve advanced techniques and should not be practised until complete mastery has been achieved. This apply especially to the holding of the breath in order to increase muscular resistance against external at¬tacks or develop explosive strength. Such explosive contractions syn¬chronized with breath holding must be done very seldom, always after a supervised and careful training and only in specific actions that require such a protective internal pressure like extreme weightlifting or hard mar¬tial arts combats. Even in the mentioned cases, don't make the breath holds a habit. It is dangerous and detrimental. It is better to learn to con¬tract powerfully the abdominals while you are breathing.
> If you perform breath holds in conjunction with BMC in order to develop extreme contractile power and strength, never hold the breath more than 5 seconds. The lack of oxygen under such extremely stressful situations can cause dizziness and faint.
> Slow controlled breathing (SMCB), explained before, provides similar con¬tracting strength in demanding actions to the breath hold and it is much less dangerous in general. At advanced stages of MC mastery, the attain¬able voluntary tension level is so high that the very slight advantage that you could obtain by means of a sudden breath hold is almost negligible and, in general (except, perhaps, extreme sports performance), does not deserve the risks involved in such a quick raise of blood pressure.
3.18. The importance of abdominal controls
The Maxalding abdominal controls are probably the most difficult, spectacu¬lar, awesome and important.
The progression in these exercises can be amazing, from the relatively easy abdominal depression to the extreme voluntary isolation of single sections of the rectus abdominis or the isolation of abdominal tendons.
The beneficial effects on health that provides the performance of abdominal controls are countless. Among them are the improvement of digestion, breath¬ing and excretion, muscular core reinforcement, mobilization of internal fluids, better resistance to diseases and deep relax. The reason is that abdominal controls are the most natural and effective form of massage of the internal or¬gans.
But, the abdominal isolations demand a lot of practice and patience. It is very sad to see how many beginners try to perform the rectus abdominis isolations at first and, after some fruitless efforts, give up Maxalding. The key exercise is the abdominal depression or "vacuum", never forget it. You should master com¬pletely this before attempting any other abdominal exercise. Read carefully all the instructions, because it is not as easy as it seems and many instructors per¬form it in wrong and even dangerous ways.
3.19. Preliminary abdominal exercises
3.19.1. Breathing exercises for the abdominals (MC-abdominal-breath)
Important note: Avoid always any kind of "abdominal breathing" because it is harmful and detrimental. Please, read carefully the breathing techniques, be¬fore attempting the abdominal controls. Breathe always through the nose.
Exercise 1 (MC-abdominal-breath-1). Practice slow controlled breathing (SMCB). You should observe that the abdomen depresses slightly with each exhalation. You must concentrate on this effect in order to increase the depres¬sion gradually without straining the breaths at all. This is perhaps the most im¬portant preliminary exercise and it is very beneficial in itself.
Exercise 2 (MC-abdominal-breath-2). When you have mastered the Exercise 1, try to exert an explosive (but careful and controlled) exhalation of the air through the nose. The very important point here is to be able to exhale the maximal amount of air of the lungs by diaphragmatic means only.
The two main errors that inhibit the performance of abdominal controls in most cases are:
> The involuntary contraction or forcing of the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis and external obliques generally). The abdominal muscles must be absolutely relaxed. But, the question is, how can I learn to relax the ab¬dominal wall properly? The best method to achieve this relaxing state is the mastery of MC-abdominal-breath-1. Some people find very useful to practise this exercise lying comfortably in a bed or similar surface. The bed should be enough solid to not allow any back bending. Some residual tension can be due to an excessive erect state of the spine. Practice the MC-abdominal-breath-1,2 bending the lower back (keep the upper back straight) slightly forward, but keeping the back muscles relaxed (avoid any antagonistic action). Experiment with different angles in little increments as far as you find the optimal position that allows the maximal relaxation of the abdominal wall. Keep always your hips and legs comfortably relaxed, don't force them instinctively. Generally it is advised to practice muscle control in front of a mirror, but Maxick prevented against an improper use of the mirror and, in this case, I think that the use of a mirror should be discouraged until you master the vacuums. The reason are manifold, but the main two are: the raising of the head in order to see your image can produce an involuntary thorax displacement and a subsequent contraction of the abdominal wall, and the seeing of your own image can be frustrat¬ing in first attempts and can inhibit your necessary concentration on prop¬er breathing.
> The involuntary relaxation of the serratus magnus during the explosive ex¬halation. You should not allow to relax the serratus, because a true ab¬dominal and relaxed vacuum is only possible if you exhale by the exclus¬ive effort of your diaphragm muscle.
The difficulties of the abdominal isolations are logical, because the anatomy of the process is very complex. If we analyse in detail this, we can observe that in breathing are involved several muscle groups. Some muscles help to the per¬formance of the vacuum and some tend to inhibit it.
> The serratus must be contracted to some extent in order to keep the rib box expanded. This is necessary in order to allow the pure action of the diaphragm, a complete air expulsion and to provide enough volume to de¬press the relaxed abdominal wall.
> The intercostals play a troubled play in the abdominal controls. First, you could instinctively contract the intercostals in order to sustain the thorax expanded. The problem here is the almost sure induced co-contraction of the upper sections of the rectus abdominis. It is extremely difficult to isol¬ate the lower intercostals from the upper abdominals (perhaps impossible to a 100%), so any contraction of the intercostals surely defeats the relax¬ation of the abdominal wall. Second, you must learn to keep the thorax in an expanded state with the intercostals relaxed. This implies the isolation of the serratus and the intercostals. Fortunately, this isolation is generally easy and can be done almost automatically if you care only about your diaphragm.
> Back muscles. The are involved in the shoulder blade expansion. The la- tissimus dorsi and, specially, the erector spinae in a lower back bended position, tend to produce an antagonistic action on the abdominal muscles. You must relax them, allowing simultaneously a free motion of the shoulder blades.
> Pectorals. They have a minor influence in abdominal relaxation, but it is advised to keep them relaxed, because a powerful contraction of the pec¬torals can interfere with the necessary concentration on the diaphragmatic and abdominal muscles.
> Diaphragm. It is an internal semi-voluntary muscle that assists breathing, acting as a bellows under the lungs. It is one of the most important muscles in the body. Maxalding excels at the development of this muscle by natural means, because muscle control is the most perfect form of in¬ternal massage and direct exertion of the internal organs. It has the prin¬cipal role in abdominal controls, so be patient with training it.
3.19.2. Factors that have influence on abdominal controls
Some other factors can have influence on the performance of the abdominal controls.
> Wind. If all positions and breathing are correct, the presence of wind in¬side the intestines can defeat completely the performance of vacuums. I suggest you a natural method that can be very helpful in many cases. Lie comfortably prone and relaxed, with body straight, and then turn yourself slowly, keeping the body straight, as far as you rest all your body weight over the left side, relax and wait until the wind is naturally expelled. Don't force the expulsion. If you note that the wind has not been sufficiently re¬moved, repeat the same slow movement several times. Sometimes, turn-ing also to the right side or crossing the straight legs in the left position can help.
> Presence of no digested food in the stomach or intestines. The most obvi¬ous thing is not to exercise until digestion is completed (about 2 hours after a meal, except for extreme abdominal isolations, that demand much more time). Sometimes, the presence of no digested food is related to constipation. Precisely, abdominal controls are one of the most effective natural means to relief constipation. In such case you must use vacuums preliminary with a therapeutic, no training, purpose. Drink a little (about 100 cm3) of warm water (no hot) and try to perform 5 slow vacuums in a row. Rest, breathing slowly, for about another 30 breaths relaxing the ab¬domen. Repeat the same process 2-3 times and relax comfortably. This technique help to mobilize the internal fluids and cleanse the internal or-gans. It is very advisable to perform this therapeutic exercise just after getting up in the morning.
> Body fat levels. Many times it is impossible to reproduce the excellent pics of some Maxalding champions because the body fat levels of our own bodies are higher. Remember that it is impossible to reduce fat only in specific areas. The fat reducing process must be directed to the whole body system. The safe reduction of body fat can only be achieved by a perfect combination of proper diet and exercise. But, you should not be confused by the huge amount of contradictory information that invade the media. There are not miraculous diets or training systems. Only a rational and complete diet (a very important point in Maxalding that we shall ana¬lyse later), careful performed exercises and rest can help you to achieve your goals.
3.19.3. ISR exercises
Try to relax your abdominals in the most favourable position (found by means of the performance of MC-abdominal-breath-1,2) and press with the palms of your hand very progressively against the upper section of your legs, almost touching the hips. Concentrate the effort on your abdominals and not on your arms. Don't strain the least. Try to feel the effect of the tension over the relaxed abdominal wall.
Keep the tension during 5 complete controlled breathings in the way of MC- abdominal-breath-1,2 and relax. Repeat 1-5 times. Never hold your breath.
3.19.4. AMR exercises
Contract powerfully and slowly without strain all muscles of the abdominal wall. Try to keep the tension 5 breathings without forcing it. Relax and repeat 1¬5 times.
You can perform this exercise dynamically in all possible directions of back motion. In such case, do the half of the movement during inspiration and the other half during expiration.
1. Bending the spine forward (no more than 90°).
2. Bending the spine slightly backwards.
3. Bending the spine laterally (no more than 45°). You can combine this with a simultaneous expansion of the shoulder blades.
4. Turning the trunk to both sides with arms stretched in front of you.
3.19.5. BL exercises
Important note: This exercises range from advanced to very advanced, so don't try them until you have a very good muscular foundation by means of MC and previous exercises.
Straight leg sit up. Many things have been said about the safety of the straight leg sit-up. Actually, this exercise is absolutely safe if you do it Maxald¬ing way with slow controlled motion and 1-5 reps per workout (it is not neces¬sary to do lots of sit-ups, such high number of repetitions destroy the muscle quality and defeats the purpose and safety of the exercise).
Performed this way, raising slowly without any jerking impulse, with straight arms extended backwards or crossed over your chest, contracting the abdomin¬al wall along the motion and straight legs, this exercise can be very difficult at first. The key to progress is raising only a few cm in first stages and to increase the height as far as you can complete the whole movement without strain.
This exercise must be at the end of the training session with a good previous warm up.
Apply to rest of the exercises the same recommendations of the previous one.
Raising legs at 90° lying prone.
Once you have mastered legs raising you can alternate the motion of both legs alternatively in a sort of cycling exercise.
A more advanced version brings the legs straight as far as the feet touch the floor backwards in front of the face. It is a beneficial exercise for the spine also, but can be stressing for many people and it is advisable to practice it with some sort of hand assistance and over a soft surface.
On the contrary, a very easy and beginner's alternative is the alternating rais¬ing of knees with the other leg straight, trying to touch the chest with each knee in its top position. Keep the tension in the top position for about 5 breaths. In this way you do not need many repetitions.
Front bridge with palms and feet on floor (superman push-up). This is, without doubt, one of the toughest and most complete exercises you can do. It is the basis of some of the most advanced and productive exercises you can do without apparatus. It was the last and most demanding exercise of the original Maxalding book and it really constitutes an excellent test of overall strength and control.
The performance of this exercise in Maxalding is extremely progressive and very safe, because you can press firmly with your palms and feet every moment in order to keep balance. In this way you can stop at any desired angle and keep the tension in the lower position, increasing the control and the benefits. The Maxalding method reduces the risk of spraining the back to a minimum. Besides, this exercise avoids any kind of dangerous jerking movements or im¬pulses in order to regain the upper position. I personally discourage the use of any wheel or rolling device for performing the front bridge.
This is a very demanding exercise on almost every area of the body, both dy¬namically and statically.
1. Press firmly your palms and feet on the floor forming a comfortable "V" shape with the body facing down. It is advisable to practise this exercise with the palms and feet over a smooth and regular surface that avoids any possibility of sliding. Open the angle of the "V" as far as as you can without forcing you the least. Keep the tension in the lower position during 1-5 breaths and return slowly and surely to the initial position. Relax and repeat 1-5 times. Never allow that your muscles begin to shake, this would indicate that you are forcing your performance too much. Remember that muscle trembling is just the opposite to Muscle Control.
2. When you are able to sustain the lowest position, almost parallel to the floor, you must do a conscious effort to contract the involved muscles in this position, trying to relax the unnecessary muscles (really a few) in this position. Keep the contraction 5 breaths, return to the initial position and repeat 1-5 times (1 perfect performance is enough for most purposes).
Sometimes, you could feel that you are unable to lift your body from the lowest position due to a sudden lack of strength. Don't be disappointed, relief the tension slowly and rest over the floor. Never try to lift yourself in a crazy fashion with a jerking action of the lower back, it is very dangerous and such practices do not add any valuable strength to you.
3. One arm front bridge. This exercise should only be practised seldom for testing purposes, because it is extremely demanding on the whole body and very stressing for the arm and shoulder joints if you do not know how to control completely your muscles in this very difficult stretched position. The progression must be very slow. There are two ways to train this feat.
a) Follow the same "V" opening method described in (1), but with only one arm. Don't force the position and keep the body and the arm straight all the time. Stop immediately if you feel some sort of discomfort or ex-cessive stress.
b) Try to tilt your body very slightly to one side in the lowest position rest¬ing more weight in the corresponding arm. When you are reasonably sure of your ability to support the weight, raise a few cm the no support¬ing arm, keeping perfect position. Return to the initial position and relax.
Don't perform this feat more than 1-2 times a week in general.
These exercises help to tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles to a high degree, but they can be counter-productive if they are done in excess. The undesired effect of too much mechanical abdominal exercise on MC can be due mainly to:
> Fatigue of the abdominal muscles. You need that your abdominal muscles are plenty of energy in order to contract them in an isolating form.
> Excessive tone and lack of suppleness. The performance of a high num¬ber of reps of any mechanical exercise can produce some residual rigidity in the muscles that can make very difficult a complete relax of the abdom¬inal wall. Besides, an excess of exercise in the abdominal area can gener¬ate some painful cramping during a voluntary contraction and undesired instinctive tensions in the rectus abdominis.
Lateral back bending with scapulae expansion.
It is very valuable in developing the lateral obliques if you concentrate on them while you are in the lowest position.
3.20. Isolation of the abdominal muscles
3.20.1. Abdominal depression ("vacuum")
This is the key exercise of the whole Maxalding system. Many people fail to do more advanced controls due to an incomplete mastering of the vacuum.
The most important thing is correct breathing. Remember the advices in MC- abdominal-breath-1,2. If you practice correctly the MC-abdominal-breath-2, you should not have any problem in performing a perfect vacuum.
Stand erect with body relaxed, especially the abdominal wall, the legs and the back. Concentrate in you breathing and in the action of the serratus, but don't force the inhalation at all. Keep your legs comfortably straight, but relaxed. It is advisable to keep them apart a few cm in order to avoid some involuntary pressing among the thighs during exhalation, but in general this is not an im¬portant factor.
Inhale with the effort of your serratus mainly, keeping the thorax expanded forward, but don't raise your chest. Sometimes a very slight downward bending of the lower back and the head can help to relax the abdominal muscles.
When you feel that your lungs are filled without any strain, concentrate in your diaphragm and exhale the air from the lungs explosively, but without any effort, keeping the thorax expanded by the action of the serratus.
The external air pressure and the inertia of the diaphragm motion must be enough to complete a perfect vacuum.
Don't hold your breath more than 5 seconds in any case.
When you master a single vacuum, you can try to repeat it 5 times in a row with correct breath coordination.
3.20.2. Abdominal vacuum with breathing
This is an extremely important exercise that does not appear described in any Maxalding or MC writing as far as I know. Its importance comes from the possibility to sustain more advanced abdominal controls without the dangers in-volved in holding the breath. This multiplies a lot the benefits and performance
147 Philosophy, Science and Practice of Maxalding of the exercises.
The learning of this technique enables you also to increase your protection and safety in sudden efforts or against blows with a natural breathing.
A complete mastering of the previous vacuum exercise is absolutely neces¬sary. If you try to do the vacuum while your are breathing at first, you would probably tense your intercostal and abdominal muscles, defeating your pur-pose.
Do a perfect vacuum and concentrate on how your exhalation affects the per¬formance of the exercise. Relax a few moments and repeat, but now try to in¬hale again keeping the diaphragm in that position. You could find difficult to breathe in this position. The key to success is to breathe slowly (remember the comments about slow MC breathing, SMCB) and with the action of the serratus only. This is the reason why is so important to practice correct breathing and thorax MC before attempting abdominal controls.
When you are able to do 1 inhalation during a vacuum, you can try to keep the breathing vacuum for 1-5 complete breaths. Relax completely after this.
If you feel some breathing discomfort or difficulty, be patient and practice the previous exercises far more. Don't force yourself. Many controls are attained some day, almost by chance, after weeks of patient, and apparently fruitless, practice.
3.20.3. Central abdominal (rectus abdominis) isolation with hand pressure (MC-abdominal-central-hand)
You can try this exercise immediately after you have mastered the vacuum, but I suggest that it is better to practice the breathing vacuum before. This would allow you to keep longer vacuum times without strain, which could be very important in order to achieve good results with the hand pressure tech¬nique.
Place the palms of your hands (sometimes it could be helpful to keep the fin¬gers slightly open) over the upper section of your legs, or the lower part of your hips. You should experiment the best posture. Bend your lower back a little as far as you note that the abdominal muscles are perfectly relaxed. Don't bend too much, because the gravity would exert a negative effect on the internal or¬gans, trying to drop them downwards.
Now, perform a correct vacuum and press firmly, but softly, with the palms over your legs or hips. If the abdominal muscles are relaxed you should ob¬serve a protruding of the central rectus abdominis.
Don't press too much, because you could tense another muscles that inter¬fere with the central ones. Remember that the less the pressure, the better the control.
Some people could find useful to apply the tension before the actual perform¬ance of the vacuum or while they are exhaling to produce the depression. If you apply SMCB (slow controlled breathing), these little details are not very import¬ant.
3.20.4. One side lateral abdominal isolation with hand pressure (MC- abdominal-side-hand)
The next step in abdominal control is to be able to isolate only one side of the rectus abdominis. This exercise should be fairly easy if you have mastered pre-viously the central isolation.
Adopt the same position as MC-abdominal-central-hand, with both hands re¬laxed over the legs. Perform the vacuum (you can do it with breathing or not, but I find better to do it with breathing) and press slowly with only one palm, keeping the other relaxed.
This would suffice to accomplish the one side lateral isolation. Sometimes it is hard to perform this exercise directly. Another alternative method is to do first a central isolation with both hands pressing and then to relax slowly one of the palms.
Both methods are good, but in some cases a direct lateral pressure is not enough to protrude only one side, this is the reason by which you should try both techniques and decide the best for you.
Depending upon your body structure, hip placement and lower back position you can achieve different degrees of lateral isolation, from the protruding of the whole muscle leaflet to a narrow cord. Generally, you have to turn slightly your hips towards the same side that you want to isolate in order to produce a "cord¬like" visualization.
3.20.5. True voluntary abdominal isolations (without hand pressure)
The hand assistance of many controls should be only a preliminary stage in the learning of Maxalding and, although the exercises so performed are very beneficial themselves, should not be the final aim of a sincere Maxaldist. You must try to teach your body true MC and this only can be achieved by means of pure mental concentration alone.
However, the neural processes involved in this learning are very complex and unpredictable. You may be practising day after day some control without any improvement, even you despair and stop to try it any more, and suddenly, some weeks later, during a training session you try it again only for fun and you have success. So be patient and always believe in your abilities.
The way to achieve a pure voluntary abdominal isolation is to reduce very progressively and slowly the hand pressure. The easiest pure abdominal MC is the central isolation. Generally it is better to try a ballistic approach first.
Perform a perfect vacuum and do a hand assisted central isolation. Concen¬trate on what you feel just while the muscle is protruding. Visualize this unique sensation continuously during your relax.
Then, perform a new vacuum and place your palms exactly as if you were going to press with them, but don't press this time! Only feel the contact of the palms. In this very moment, exert a mental contraction on the rectus abdominis, visualizing and feeling the same sensation you had when you pressed with your hands over the legs. Do this contraction explosively, but with SMCB (slow breathing), without forcing the exhalation.
When you master the first quick contraction, you should try to intensify it by mental concentration and to keep it for 1-10 breathings.
A person who is able to perform a correct mental central isolation, can be considered a Maxalding advanced student. This exercise represents the "test" to progress from the advanced to the expert level in MC.
Relax completely after each attempt and don't overdo the exercises, because these muscles, at first, tend to exhaust themselves quickly in this position.
As a guide, the mastering of a true abdominal MC can last several weeks (even months) until the mind develops a durable link with these muscles.
Another important point is the following. As you are progressing through Max¬alding, you may observe that some of your muscles, or perhaps, the muscles of one body side, are more responsive to voluntary contraction than others. This is a natural thing, so if you find that you are able to isolate much more clearly one abdominal side than the other, for example, don't discourage yourself. The bone structure and another body factors can have also a great influence in the
3. Muscle Control techniques and exercises 150 performance and visualization of the exercises.
18.104.22.168. One side lateral abdominal isolation
Adopt the position most favourable to do a lateral isolation of the rectus ab¬dominis, perform it correctly and then try to decrease very carefully, in little amounts, the palm tension. Concentrate intensely in the contraction feeling of the muscles and replace the hand action by mental contraction as fas as you can.
Be very patient with these exercise, because it takes generally a long time to eliminate completely the hand assistance. You will observe that some days are better (and some hours throughout the day) than others to perform correctly the voluntary isolations.
A little advice. Don't be discouraged by a curious effect that take place almost every occasion you try the pure voluntary isolation of each side of the rectus abdominis, because you could be despaired if you don't know that it is a com¬mon thing.
Usually you will observe that, although you feel an intense isolated contrac¬tion of the desired side, and that such muscle effectively protrude, the other side is almost invariably drawn also, even if you previously have been able to master the hand assisted variant without problem. Besides, the more effort and tension you put on the isolation, the more contraction is transferred to the other side.
It is advisable to apply the fine tuning method (FTMCR) to this control, be¬cause there is an optimal point in which the desired side protrude enough, while the other is still relaxed. If you surpass this point, the relaxed side is contracted invariably. This apply also to the manual control, don't press too much or both sides will be involved despite you are using only one palm.
To minimize this effect it is very important to test several different hip and back positions, but it would be impossible to eliminate completely it. This does not mean strictly a lack of proper control, but a too powerful mental and ana¬tomical link between the two sides.
22.214.171.124. Horizontal abdominal isolations
Amazingly, the horizontal isolations of the different sections of the rectus ab¬dominis took me longer than the lateral ones. The reason was an almost natur¬al tendency to contract powerfully all sections in a row.
After trying countless times the abdominal roll, I discovered that in my at¬tempts for sucking only one part of the abdomen I always tensed the whole ab¬dominal wall. So I decided to test another different method.
The extreme difficulty of these controls comes from the obvious fact that all sections form an unique muscle, so it is anatomically impossible to isolate them completely, and from the need to learn the technique with mental contraction only, because there is no definite hand pressure that can accomplish such isol¬ations.
Some help can be achieved by means of a careful study of the effect of the bending of the lower spine over the more or less strong contraction of each section. However, the best technique to progress in the horizontal controls is to apply the analytical muscle control (AMC) method, based on the fine tune of the contraction as a feedback of the intensity of the contraction you feel in a muscle.
If you try to contract powerfully and very slowly (without strain) your whole abdominal wall, you can feel (in general) that your upper section, including the intercostals, is the first you can tense. After this, the other sections are contrac¬ted almost successively in descending order in a row. The lower section is the most difficult to tense. You should observe a clear difference in the amount of tension that you can put in the upper rectus abdominis (almost cramping) com¬pared with the lower section, near the hips, very mildly contracted at first.
This different response to voluntary action is the key to learn the analytical control of the horizontal sections of the abdominal wall.
Relax completely and adopt the best posture to perform a correct vacuum, but now, instead of a vacuum, perform a very slowly (but firmly) contraction of the whole abdominal wall. Don't force yourself, because some parts of the ab¬dominal muscles are prone to a sudden and painful cramping in such situation on intense contraction .
Note how some parts contract before or, alternatively, more powerfully than others. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times and, after this, try to intensify the con¬traction of the different areas, from upper to lower if this is easier for you (most of cases), and relax the others to some extent. Repeat 1-5 times.
Try to relax the erector spinae group while you are performing abdominal controls, because its contraction can have influence over certain sections of the rectus abdominis.
Some areas of the abdominal wall are more prone to tremble than others. Generally the most affected by vibration in isolation are the two central bands.
The rectus abdominis has four horizontal muscle bands each side, so you should be able to perform four different horizontal isolations. The lowest sec¬tion, is, by far (except rare cases), the most difficult to isolate to the point that it is almost impossible to avoid some residual contraction of the other abdominal layers. Sometimes a wide open of the angle formed by the feet with the legs stretched, but relaxed, can help a lot to feel this difficult area much more in¬tensely. Be free to experiment with this, opening and closing the feet angle for various performances.
The upper section is easily contracted, but usually its contraction produces a raising of the whole abdominal wall, so it is impossible a complete relaxation of the other areas and of the intercostals. Don't be discouraged by this natural ef¬fect. However, demand yourself the maximum possible perfection in each per¬formance, don't use this natural limitations as an excuse to do a poor and inef-fective exercise.
The abdominal roll is achieved when you are able to successively contract and relax quickly the different muscle bands from upper to lower and vice versa. It is a pretty control to show, but not very effective from the point of view of relax and muscle development; it is very good for internal massage instead. I, personally, prefer to perform concentrated isolations in the same way I do with the other muscles of the body.
It is very important to achieve a symmetrical and equilibrated muscle devel¬opment of the whole body. Although, of course, you can concentrate on some parts if you desire.
126.96.36.199. External obliques isolation
There are also two ways to learn the external obliques isolation.
The first one is directed mainly towards the control of one side. Stand erect (don't bend your back, but keep relaxed) and turn slightly your hips towards the side you can control. You should feel a very soft contraction of the lateral ob¬lique. To intensify this action raise a little the corresponding hip and lower very slightly the thorax over the same side (but, don't contract the intercostals). Sometimes it could be helpful to vary the speed of the turning movement in or¬der to achieve a better feeling of the contraction. When you are able to distin¬guish the external oblique contraction, try to intensify it by means of mental concentration.
The second technique involves both external obliques, so it is very difficult to isolate one of them without turning the hips. Besides, the central sections of the rectus abdominis are tensed also to some extent.
However, this control is very nice, because it changes completely the visual¬ization of the abdominal wall, and it allows you a very powerful contraction of these muscles (which can be important to improve athletic performance in the midsection or to a better defence from lateral blows).
Adopt the most favourable position to perform a central horizontal abdominal isolation and contract very slowly, but powerfully, the second section counting from above. If you study this contraction very carefully, you can observe that is some transference of tension from this section to the external obliques when you try to contract the second section outwards, expanding the voluntary ac-tion. Thus, concentrate on this lateral effect and try to intensify it mentally, while you ignore the simultaneous tension of the central rectus abdominis. This resid¬ual tension is almost impossible to eliminate, but this is not essential. The goal is to be able to work effectively the external obliques in this difficult position irre¬spectively of the other abdominal muscles.
A much more comfortable and intense contraction, almost instinctive, can be achieved bending your trunk laterally to the desired side with your upper back as straight as you can. You should feel the tension on the corresponding lateral oblique very easily. Intensify this feeling by mental action. Don't force your bending angle too much, because in such case you will crush your external ob¬lique, defeating the possibility of an added voluntary contraction.
If you are able to perform correctly all these exercises, you can be con¬sidered a Maxalding expert.
3.20.6. Extreme abdominal controls
If you want to achieve MC excellence, try to do all abdominal isolations with breathing. Besides, it is much safer this way.
These exercises are real challenges for every maxaldist and can be con¬sidered the first step of the excellence degree in MC. From here you have and endless way to progress towards more difficult and complex isolations or com¬bined controls. Remember that the learning of complete mental and physical control is an everlasting aim.
188.8.131.52. Analytical muscle control (AMC) of the rectus abdominis
In this exercises you try to isolate, as far as is possible, each individual sec¬tion of the rectus abdominis. It implies eight different controls.
As far as I know these extreme controls have never documented or illus¬trated, but I guess that Maxick was perfectly able to do them (and, perhaps, some of such controls could have been in his best pics, lost during WWII).
The analytical control of the rectus abdominis was always a highly motiva¬tional goal for me, although I thought anatomically almost impossible to do it at first.
The practice and possibility of this kind of MC was very important for me, be¬cause it proved that MC could be improved to higher levels of perfection, so that Maxalding was a living and endless science.
The individual isolations of the sections of the rectus abdominis are extremely difficult to learn (not impossible) and to explain, because there is not any hand assistance that can help you. They are pure mental actions from the beginning.
You must master the pure voluntary lateral and horizontal isolations first.
1. Perform a mental central isolation.
2. Study carefully the effect that the increasing or decreasing of the voluntary tension has on the rectus abdominis. Generally some sections are more prone to contract before the others depending on the amount of contrac¬tion you generate.
3. Practice, until you master it, the mental central isolation with breathing.
4. Perform a perfect mental central isolation with breathing and try to do a simultaneous horizontal isolation. Usually the most visible and easy to
control section is the central one (the third from above, just over the navel). A ballistic performance with SMCB could be easier at first.
5. When you are able to fix the control, try to intensify it, visualize the isol¬ated muscles in your mind clearly (don't use the mirror at the beginning) and keep this position during 1-10 breathings, increasing time very pro¬gressively.
6. The next step is to isolate the other sections. Use the same method, but vary the application of the tension fixing the corresponding horizontal con¬tractions.
7. After this, try to relax only one side while you are performing a central isol¬ation in order to achieve a mental one side horizontal isolation. The ballist¬ic action could be counter-productive here, because the main problem is the proper relaxation of the surrounding sections. In this case a slow ap¬proach seems more adequate.
184.108.40.206. Abdominal tendon isolation
This exercise can be considered more a "visualization feat", than a real MC, but it is undoubtedly very spectacular and challenging.
However, this feat should not be practised frequently because it involves ex¬tremely low body fat levels (depending on your body type, structure and genet¬ics, such low fat levels could be even unhealthy) and, usually, the few muscle controllers who were able to clearly visualize the abdominal tendons advised about the need of a strict 24 (or more) hours fasting. Besides, this exercise has not as a direct massage effect over the abdominal organs or muscles as the lat¬eral and horizontal isolations, so its practice is somewhat irrelevant.
So, don't be discouraged at all if you cannot perform this feat. Generally, you will be able to "feel" the action of these tendons, but you cannot see them in front of the mirror. This is enough for most purposes.
Remember always that the main aim of Maxalding is perfect health. Never sacrifice your long term health for a momentary instant of irrelevant glory. Re¬serve your energies for real important things. It is worth doing extreme sacri¬fices only in extreme situations, like saving someone's life. Usually, the great things of life are in those little details that nobody notice until they, unfortu¬nately, are missing.
Obviously, a seldom done 24 hours fast should not harm you, so if you want
to try the abdominal tendon isolation, here are some advices.
> This feat depends a lot on a correct relative position of the lower ribs with respect to the hips line. Generally this exercise is easier in a more erect back position (without lower back bending), because this stretched posi¬tion prevents the simultaneous contraction of the rectus abdominis, avoid¬ing in this way a mixed and confusing tension feeling. The key to the ten¬don visualization is a perfect abdominal wall relaxation (a perfect vacuum). The deepest vacuum performances can be achieved only in the erected position. But, don't raise your thorax, expand it frontally from the lower ribs to the upper ones firmly without forcing the breath.
> Try to relax as far as you can the rectus abdominis during the vacuum performance. Concentrate on the inner layer of both sides of your abdom¬inal cavity and try to tense them up and down beginning just under the ribs.
> Concentrate and visualize the triangular tension feeling you generate with the abdominal tendons from your inner pelvis to the diaphragm.
> Drink a lot of water during your fasting period, if you think to perform this exercise. This is very beneficial for eliminating waste matter and toxins.
> When absolute mastery of the double tendon control has been achieved, you can try the one side tendon isolation or some combination of rectus abdominis isolations and tendon isolations. But I insist on not to be ob¬sessed with this feat, because it cannot be visualized on a regular basis.
The most important thing about the tendon isolation is that it proves conclus¬ively that MC can work tendons as well as muscles. So the important conclu¬sion here is that you can apply the tendon isolation technique to any muscle group with increased training benefits.
Remember the comments about transversal and longitudinal analytical MC. This tendon isolation technique is extremely good both for strengthening con-nective tissue and teaching the body how to achieve extreme degrees of mixed contraction and relaxation.
These are the Court Saldo's comments about this elusive control.
The isolation of the abdominal tendon as demonstrated by Prof. J. Chandrashekhar indicates an extremely high degree of muscle control.
The aponeurosis of the obliquus abdominis group is normally obscured by surface muscle. Most of the fibrous tissue of the abdominal wall is concealed or appear in the form of grooves between the muscle groups.
The ability to relax the abdomen so completely that a tendon can be brought into bold relief in this way must come as a result of much practice and a very sensitive bal¬anced "muscle sense".
Naturally there must be muscular contraction to bring sufficient tension to the tendon to produce this result, for the tendon has no contractile power of its own. It will be seen that the external oblique muscle (which here appears as a thickening at the top of the tendon), is in contraction and so keeping the tendon taut.
In controls such as the Central Isolation and the Single Sided Isolation of the Rectus Abdominis, the external oblique muscles are relaxed. Here the process is reversed, with relaxation of the former and contraction of the latter.
But the performance is not quite as simple as that and demands several supporting factors, including extreme refinement of the abdominal tissue and complete freedom of any adipose tissue, and, at the time of performance, an empty stomach and intestine.
3.20.7. Pelvic muscles MC
The exercise of the pelvic muscles is very important, because they constitute the floor of many internal organs, so their strengthening and relax have many health benefits.
Usually the pelvic controls have been advised for women, but they are neces¬sary for men as well, because the reinforcement of this area has a profound ef¬fect over the general tone of the abdominal organs.
The most favourable position to practise at first these controls is seated with legs open and relaxed buttocks.
Beginners could mix the contraction of the anal muscles with the produced by the front muscles of the pubis. This can be isolated by means of AMC, ob¬serving the effect of increasing tension on this area. If you progressively con-tract the anal muscles more powerfully, you should be able to feel some tension transference towards the pubis. With some practice you can isolate both con¬tractions.
In some medical publications about pelvic floor (Kegel's) exercises you can read an unusually high number of prescribed repetitions (about 300). In gener¬al, such high performance is not necessary and can be counter-productive ex¬cept in a very few cases. Remember that the pelvic muscles are very small, so they do not demand a lot of nervous energy, but they exhaust themselves also very quickly.
A really isolated and concentrated contraction of 5-10 breathings performed 1-5 times should be enough for most purposes. Besides, the pelvic muscles are involved in a lot of compound exercises (like walking), so it is exaggerated to fo¬cus your daily training in these muscles, except if your doctor has prescribed so.
3.21. Arm MC
The exercises for arm and leg muscles are almost endless and only limited by imagination due to the high mobility of their joints.
The control of these muscles is generally easier than the others explained before, because you can look for more precise positions quickly and with less effort.
The preliminary exercises (ISR, DSR and BL) are also very effective, provid¬ing a good kind of external resistance. However, the sincere maxaldist should not be satisfied with such exercises and must search for pure voluntary muscle control.
3.22. Preliminary exercises for the upper arm
3.22.1. ISR and DSR exercises for the biceps
The importance and development of the biceps muscle has been always overestimated, because this muscle is used seldom in daily activities or real overall strength tests.
Many classic bodybuilders, like John Grimek, did not care specially about their biceps and considered that the development of this muscle should be more a consequence of general arm exercises than the result of specific isola¬tion movements.
Read carefully this selection of the text from MOLDING A MIGHTY ARM, which, al¬though signed by Jowett, was very probably written by Ottley Coulter, a direct Maxick's disciple. Many of the Maxalding principles are clearly stated here.
Did you ever stop to consider that there are several forms of biceps development?
There is the biceps that bunches up in a little knot as the arm is flexed leaving a long narrow space between the elbow joint and the biceps. Then we have the biceps that give the impression of always been in a contracted state. Also the biceps which shortens the arms in such a manner as to prevent the arms from naturally assuming a straight position. This is allied closely to the biceps with the stringy appearance that gives one the creeps as it becomes flexed. All these biceps conditions are the products of various methods of exercise none of which is right. Rather might they be termed muscular deformities rather than muscular development.
Nearly every system develops a muscular biceps peculiarity which is immediately re¬cognized by the teacher of body building. The same thing holds good with athletes. There is the baseball arm, the rowing arm, the chinning arm, the weight lifter's arm, the hand balancing arm, and the wrestling and boxing arm. Each is only good in the particular use to which they have muscularity been educated and developed .
Among weight lifters I have seen the more of arm evils than in any other type, ex¬cepting, of course, the arm of the chinning fiend. More than any other type, weight lift¬ers "mine" the muscle. This term may be a little new to you but to get the idea of what I mean, out in the west farmers once had the habit of growing grain year in and year out without fertilizing the land, until the land became beggared of nourishment d poor crops followed. It was a get rich scheme and today mining the land for all it is worth is forbidden. Yet that is weight lifters do. They practice all the exercises that will promote
size by forcing growth. The result is the muscles become only capable of momentary effort. They work strongly, but in spasms, then become quickly fatigued. These boys never think of the little dynamic muscular reservoirs and instead of filling them with with vitality they deprive them of their nutritive sources . Also these exercise fans rarely have the forearm development in the same relative proportion as to their upper arm . Hand balancers secure the nicest all round development. You will always see a good hand balancer with an arm built powerfully from wrist to shoulder . The wrestler has a good upper arm and a strong grip but generally wears a poor forearm. The wrestling arm is a strong composition of strength and suppleness. Few wrestlers are good at lifting heavy barbells or dumbbells, yet a good second class wrestler can eas¬ily overcome a first class weight lifter. The difference is in the type of exercise as have previously stated. The weight lifter has rigid muscles that cannot stand the con¬tortion of wrestling and twisting and more particularly they fail to build their muscles right. Wrestler, as a rule, do not touch heavy weights and do not acquire rigid muscles which makes it difficult for them to sustain any heavy weight overhead . Yet, they are usually able to snap an opponent off the mat and hurl him overhead time after time and I doubt if I can recall of any single specialized weight lifter who could move the same man from the same position. By all means the arm of the wrestler is more cap¬able of endurance. More so than the arm of any other athlete and his grip is, nine times out of ten, superior to that of the majority of weight lifters.
Now mind you that I am not knocking weight lifting. I am giving you frank comparis¬on irrespective of personal feeling. I know there are some who preach weight lifting as a cure-all, but those same people I challenge to prove it by their personal abilities.
There are two standing figures in the history of strongmanism and wrestling whom you will doubtless recall, namely George Hackenschmidt and George Lurich.
Both these men were marvels in feats of lifting and were in their day invincible on the mat, but their methods of training were not the methods some people try to make believe. They were men with a perfect understanding of the bodily mechanism who both followed the same system of training, which was thorough and provided them with dual qualities of muscular rigidity and relaxation at the right time, also with foun¬tains of reserve energy and inexhaustible endurance. Both these men possessed magnificent arms that had a mighty circumference on all five points, yet they were
gracefully shaped and leaping with life.
ating inflated tissues. This is caused by performing too many repetitions of movements devoid of concentration or resistance. It is as dangerous and as useless as the arm of the man developed in a one track mold. Cable exercises create the worst condition and calisthenics come next . There is never any steel in the muscle structure of this type. Get away from it, practice variation, but don't strain your muscles. Sinews and ligaments are never thickened when taxed too strenuously. Remember exercise is not strain , it is a process of cultivation by gradual increased stimulation of the organic and physical sources.
Maxalding, and more specifically, Muscle Control, makes this objective pos¬sible, because you can contract and relax every muscle from every possible angle, combining all isolations into a continuous unique exercise for all parts of the body from head to toes. This is the way I recommend the practice of Muscle Control.
This point of view was also clearly stated by Court Saldo.
There are sound physiological reasons for this form of progression, which are not understood by some of those who try to teach muscle control, but spoil the chances of their followers ever becoming good muscle controllers, by a haphazard series of movements and a complete false idea of the way to master the controls.
As already explained it is necessary to employ a muscle through its fullest range of movement for maximum development to be obtained. Muscle control enables this range of movement to be lengthened considerably, by adopting various skeletal posi¬tions.
Isometric or static contraction with a muscle in a short position, has its value in in¬creasing muscle growth, but only when the muscle has been prepared with full range progressive movement. To use static "peak" contraction in weak or unpre-pared muscles can be disastrous.
The biceps is one of the muscles of the body that can be controlled more easily, but this is the reason by which many people tend to perform the biceps controls with bad form.
The main errors regarding biceps controls are:
> The use of the powerful antagonistic action of the triceps in order to con¬tract the biceps.
> The almost instinctive hard contraction of the fingers, closing the fist and forearm muscles, for achieving a more rigid contraction of the biceps.
> The exclusive use of peak contraction, tensing the biceps only in its more contracted position.
> The rigid contraction of the biceps, almost cramping it.
> The lack of ballistic and dynamic muscle controls of this muscle.
These bad practices produced a lot of misunderstandings among old (and present) athletes, including skilful muscle controllers, so that they concluded that MC was unable to develop the muscles to its full potential.
Although ISR and DSR exercises are extremely good to learn MC, its main limitation comes from the fact that in the majority of individuals these exercises do not cover the whole range of motion of the worked muscles, due to obvious joint limitations. Because of this, the maxaldist should do ISR and DSR only as a learning and complementary tool and never as a definitive training method.
The description of ISR or DSR exercises here would be very long and would distract from the main goal of Maxalding, the Muscle Control exercises, so that I shall not explain such exercises. If you want to see very complete descriptions of ISR and DSR exercises, I suggest you the following links:
And the following pages of each link.
3.22.2. BL exercises for the biceps
The most effective BL exercise for the biceps is the chin up (remember the Jowett's advices), but you need a bar. It is very difficult to work this muscle with bodyweight exercises without apparatus because most of BL exercises are of a pushing nature.
The best alternatives to chin ups are self resistance (ISR and DSR) exer¬cises.
3.23. Muscle control of the biceps
At this point I suppose that the reader knows the main MC techniques (fine tune of contraction, analytical MC, slow controlled breathing, ... ) described in previous articles, so that I am going to describe directly the controls.
3.23.1. Control of the biceps in its most contracted position (MC-biceps-1)
Bend your arm as far as your forearm almost touch your biceps and perform a slow and progressive contraction just below the vibrating point of the muscle. Don't allow your muscles cramp, it does not produce any additional benefit and can be dangerous.
The biceps can be (and should be) controlled in several joint angles in this position. This variations will help you to work more intensely each portion of the biceps muscle.
220.127.116.11. Transversal analytical control (TAMC) of the biceps in its shortest position with the wrist at 0° (MC-biceps-1-TAMC-0)
Adopt the position described in MC-biceps-1 with the palm facing the biceps. Contract slowly and progressively. Keep the contraction 5-10 breathings or ap¬ply some of the advanced techniques described in previous articles.
18.104.22.168. Transversal analytical control (TAMC) of the biceps in its shortest position with the wrist at 90° (MC-biceps-1-TAMC-90)
Adopt the position described in MC-biceps-1 with the palm turned 90° with respect the biceps line. Contract slowly and progressively. Keep the contraction 5-10 breathings.
22.214.171.124. Transversal analytical control (TAMC) of the biceps in its shortest position with the wrist at 180° (MC-biceps-1-TAMC-180)
Adopt the position described in MC-biceps-1 with the palm turned 180° with respect the biceps line. Contract slowly and progressively. Keep the contraction 5-10 breathings.
These exercises are specially good for increasing the performance for doing pull ups and chin ups.
This position can be used to try to isolate the brachialis muscle to some ex¬tent.
3.23.2. Control of the biceps in its middle position (MC-biceps-2)
Bend your arm forming an angle of 90° between the forearm and the biceps. Contract slowly and keep the tension 5-10 breathings. Be careful to reduce the triceps contraction to a minimum.
126.96.36.199. TAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 0° (MC-biceps-2-TAMC-0)
Adopt the position of MC-biceps-2 with the palm facing to the biceps. Con¬tract slowly the biceps minimizing the action of the triceps and forearm muscles. Keep the contraction 5-10 breathings.
In this position both heads of the biceps are worked symmetrically.
188.8.131.52. TAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 90° (MC-biceps-2-TAMC-90)
Adopt the position of MC-biceps-2 with the palm at 90° with respect to the bi¬ceps. Contract slowly the biceps minimizing the action of the triceps and fore¬arm muscles. Keep the contraction 5-10 breathings.
In this position the external head of the biceps is most intensely worked. If you perform a fine tune of the muscle contraction in this position you can isolate this portion of the biceps to a high degree. However, it is fundamental not to surpass certain critical tension point, because the other portion would be in¬volved.
If you practice MC almost cramping the muscles, you will never be able to achieve extreme levels of isolation. This is the reason by which I insist so much in performing all controls with slow and progressive tension always under the trembling point of the controlled muscle.
Some other muscles can be worked in this same position, specially the bra- chioradialis can be contracted very powerfully. We shall study these controls later.
184.108.40.206. TAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 180° (MC-biceps-2-TAMC-180)
Adopt the position of MC-biceps-2 with the palm at 180° with respect to the biceps. Contract slowly the biceps minimizing the action of the triceps and fore¬arm muscles. Keep the contraction 5-10 breathings.
In this position the internal head of the biceps is most intensely worked. If you perform a fine tune of the muscle contraction in this position you can isolate this portion of the biceps to some extent. The same preceding recommendations apply here.
220.127.116.11. Longitudinal AMC (LAMC) of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 0° (MC-biceps-2-LAMC-0)
This can seem extremely difficult at first, but with a lot of concentration and patience you would experience that you can vary the level of tension along the biceps muscle from the upper insertion point to the lower.
How to achieve such extreme controls is equally extremely difficult to explain, because they appear spontaneously most times after months of dedicated practice.
Here are some suggestions to accelerate the learning process.
• Previous relaxation is very important, so learn to relax all muscles before
attempting the extreme controls, because a contracted muscle cannot be analytically isolated. Besides, complete relaxation is fundamental in order to distinguish properly the effect of the mental concentration on each muscle portion.
• The FTMCR (fine tune of the muscle contraction and relaxation) tech¬nique, performed by means of very slow contractions synchronized with perfect breathing, is the key to success.
• The lower the tensing effort, the better the results. Generally, the success in the performance of extreme controls is intimately related with the en¬hancement of the mind muscle connection due to the achievement of new mental concentration levels, so be very patient if you want to master MC to this point.
• Try to concentrate your analytical tension on three parts of the muscle: up¬per, middle and lower. With time, you could transfer the tension continu¬ously along the entire muscle.
This neutral position is the best for performing double TAMC + LAMC isola¬tions of each head of the biceps in advanced stages.
18.104.22.168. LAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 90° (MC-biceps-2-LAMC-90)
In this position you can perform an amazing double TAMC + LAMC isolation of the external head of the biceps, but the longitudinal controls in this rotated positions have a lot of problems because some surrounding muscles tend to contribute to the contraction.
22.214.171.124. LAMC of the biceps in its middle position with the wrist at 180° (MC-biceps-2-LAMC-180)
The performance of LAMC in this position is very difficult, except the concen¬tration of the effort in the lower part, near the elbow. This difficulty can be used to try to isolate the brachialis muscle to some extent.
126.96.36.199. Tendon isolation with the biceps in its middle position and the wrist at 0°
This neutral position is the best to try the extremely difficult tendon isolation at the insertion points of the biceps. The ability to perform such isolations is simultaneous with the success in feeling the different LAMC contractions. Obvi¬ously, the isolation cannot be complete at a 100% level, but it can be done to a satisfactory degree.
The easiest control use to be the isolation of the lower tendon. It can be very helpful to put one finger over the central tendon in order to feel the exact mo¬ment in which the tendon is sufficiently tensed but the biceps is almost relaxed still.
The upper isolation is much more subtle, because is based exclusively in an internal, almost subjective feeling, due to this area is covered with a thick layer of muscle. There is more favourable position for this control, explained later, with the biceps almost stretched.
The tendons of this body part can be very difficult to see, so that a clear visu¬alization of the isolations could be impossible.
You can try these tendon isolations with the wrist rotated other angles, but they use to be even more difficult.
3.23.3. Control of the biceps in its stretched position (MC-biceps-3)
Keep your arm almost straight, but do not force the stretch, because you would produce an instinctive powerful antagonistic contraction of triceps.
Contract the biceps very slowly and try to keep the tension 5-10 breathings relaxing the triceps as much as you can all the time.
In this position you can perform all the TAMC and LAMC variations explained before, although they are much more difficult. However in this stretched posi¬tion, you can perform a more definite isolation of the upper section of the biceps and the corresponding insertion point.
In order to achieve the upper isolation relax all your arm muscles with the arm almost stretched, but, this is very important, do not allow your arm to hang freely, keep it slightly elevated. Put one finger over the upper section of the bi¬ceps and other finger over the bordering lower section of the deltoid. Raise and lower your arm very slowly in the relaxed stretched position explained before and notice with your fingers how both muscles contract when you raise your arm.
Keep your arm in the position you feel the greater biceps contraction with a reasonably low tension in the deltoid and try to intensify mentally the biceps up¬per contraction in this position during 5-10 breathings.
3.24. MC of the triceps
The triceps is a very important and, unfortunately, sometimes a neglected muscle. All over head liftings and most of the upper bodyweight exercises de¬mand a powerful action of the triceps. All old time strongmen insisted in the im¬portance of the triceps training over the biceps and recommended push ups, pull ups and hand balancing to accomplish this.
MC is a very powerful method to work the triceps entirely and to sculpt it per¬fectly.
3.24.1. Control of the triceps in its stretched position (MC-triceps-1)
The main problem in this position is the parasitic contraction of the biceps, because the biceps is in its most favourable position to contract.
But you can minimize this effect almost completely adopting carefully a cor¬rect position. Keeping the fingers straight helps also to maximize the triceps contraction while the biceps is more relaxed.
Stand erect and bend your arm at chest height as if you were going to do a push up. The wrist must be straight and the palm facing down towards the floor while the forearm is also parallel to the floor.
Now bring your elbow backwards as far as you can in this position. This and the 90° rotation of the wrist with respect to the biceps line are the key to sup¬press the biceps contraction. You should feel the tension mainly in the lower part of the triceps, near the elbow, similar to the first effort to do a push up.
Don't be disappointed if you feel some biceps contraction in spite of these precautions. Practice patiently, contracting the muscle very slowly always without allowing it to tremble. Remember that a trembling muscle transfers its
tension almost automatically to its surroundings.
In this is position the TAMC are not clearly distinguishable. You should con¬centrate in the LAMC along the triceps muscle, trying to raise the tension from the elbow to the shoulder, but without an antagonistic action of the biceps. Tune your contraction effort very precisely and stop before the biceps begin to contract appreciably. It is very difficult, but you will be satisfied with the results in your next push up test.
3.24.2. Control of the triceps in its middle position (MC-triceps-2)
A true test of MC performance, because it is almost impossible to contract the triceps in this position without involving the biceps to some extent.
Adopt the same position as MC-triceps-1, but the elbow must be in line with the chest and the forearm must form a 90° angle with the upper arm.
This control demands an extremely high mental concentration ability and only can be achieved after your mind muscle connection have developed to an high¬er level of conciousness.
Focus your mind in the back insertion point of the elbow. As you increase the contraction effort very slowly, you should feel the beginning of the tension very near the elbow. Try to raise this tension progressively along the central line.
The problem is that this control is very important, because it hits a generally weak and unstable point in the range of motion of the triceps.
But, do not despair, because I have discovered a very easy trick to eliminate to a high degree the biceps action in this position, allowing a really powerful tri¬ceps contraction in this important position .
Adopt the position explained before (bend your arm at 90° in line with the chest), but now try to rotate your wrist outwards as you comfortably can. Experi¬ment with this and you will be able to notice that an internal rotation (palm fa¬cing you) of the wrist produces a powerful contraction of the biceps, but an ex¬ternal rotation of the wrist (the palm moves away from your sight) allows a reas¬onably good triceps tension.
3.24.3. Control of the triceps with the arm completely stretched (MC- triceps-3)
At last an easy position to control the triceps!
Extend your arms to both sides at a 45° angle with respect your body line from the legs and stretch them as far as your comfortably can, trying to put your forearms backwards with the wrists pointing forward. You should feel a very powerful contraction in the heads of the triceps. Try to intensify this tension mentally, but be careful, do not force the muscle in this position, because it is very prone to painful crampings.
188.8.131.52. TAMC of the triceps with the wrist at 0° (MC-triceps-TAMC-0)
In this position your palms should point to your legs. Stretch your arm and keep it perfectly straight as far as you comfortably can. You should feel a powerful contraction on the triceps head and the area near the elbow. The up¬per muscles of the forearm can be involved to some extent, this is inevitable and does not affect the performance of the exercise, because this additional contraction contribute to stabilize the elbow joint in external resistance exer¬cises.
You can try LAMC in this position raising the tension from the elbow to the shoulders, concentrating the effort on different sections.
184.108.40.206. TAMC of the triceps with the wrist at 90° (MC-triceps-3-TAMC-90)
In this case the arm must be perfectly stretched and the wrist should point backwards.
The feelings are very similar to MC-triceps-3-TAMC-0 but the tension is more concentrated on the back section of the triceps (the nearest to the armpits).
The recommendations are also the same. Do not rotate the wrist more than 90°, because in this stretched arm position, an excessive outwards rotation of the wrist produce an undesirable forced twisting of some elbow tendons and lig¬aments.
Thanks to this rotations you can concentrate your effort more intensely over each of the heads of the triceps muscle.
3.25. MC of the brachialis muscle (MC-brachialis)
Here are some Jowett's comments about this neglected muscle.
The side movements of the arm are not controlled by the biceps but by a muscle that fits on the floor of the upper arm in such a manner as to be almost hidden from visible identification. [...] This muscle aids as a flexor of the forearm and what should interest you is that this muscle actually has an influence on the size and shape of the biceps.
The effective isolation of this muscle is a real MC challenge. I have had a lim¬ited success in sensing the isolated contraction of the brachialis in neutral posi¬tions, because both surrounding muscles, the biceps or the triceps, are quickly involved in the contracting effort.
The best position I have found to work the brachialis more intensely is similar to the end (upper) posture of a narrow grip pull up.
Bend your arm almost completely, but be careful that your biceps does not press your forearm, because such pressure would produce some instinctive contraction of the biceps. Now, put your forearm in front of the corresponding shoulder pointing vertically to the roof. The key is to turn your wrist outwards as far as you can (without forcing it), so that the palm faces to the front, very simil¬ar to a pull up isometric hold in the upper position. In this position the biceps and the triceps should be almost completely relaxed. You can notice easily such condition touching your arm, both muscles seem very soft. Besides, the brachioradialis and the forearm muscles are not heavily affected in this forced posture.
Now concentrate your effort in the lower part of the upper arm, near the el¬bow. You should feel a very intense tension (be careful with an eventual cramp¬ing) below the biceps that does not tense this muscle appreciably. This tension is produced by the brachialis.
3.26. MC of the brachioradialis muscle (MC-brachioradialis)
This muscle contribute powerfully to the elbow flexion when the biceps is in a mechanical disadvantage, so that in order to control this muscle we should find a position in which the elbow is flexed while the biceps is almost relaxed.
After some experimentation you can notice that the best position to contract this muscle is the explained one in MC-biceps-2-TAMC-90, but you must do an effort to relax the biceps.
An additional rotation to reduce the action of the biceps is not desirable, be¬cause you would lose the advantageous contracting position of the brachiora- dialis.
In advanced MC stages you can try to minimize the parasitic tension of the biceps by means of TAMC with FTMCR. In learning phases you can feel this muscle performing an ISR (isometric self resistance) over the forearm in the prescribed position, pressing downwards slowly and progressively. Do not press too strongly, because the biceps would contract appreciably. Once you feel the tension of the brachioradialis, try to reduce the manual tension, substi¬tuting it by mental concentration.
3.27. MC of the forearm muscles (MC-forearm)
The forearm muscles are many and complex. They are involved in the rota¬tion of the forearm and wrist and in the extension and flexion of the fingers. They can be worked externally by loaded rotations of the wrist and gripping ac-tions.
MC can be used to reinforce these muscles to their highest degree without the dangers of tearing these delicate structures by means of external resistance practices.
An effective isolation of each muscle of the forearm is practically impossible, so that the recommended MC technique in this case is to work the forearm from all possible angles. The key is a proper rotation of the wrist with the arm almost stretched, but not completely stretched, because this would involve the triceps very forcibly.
3.27.1. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° upwards and pointing to the front (MC-forearm-up-90-0)
Keep your arm straight pointing to the floor. Now, rotate your wrist upwards as far as it forms an angle of 90° with respect to the forearm line and the floor. Your fingers should point to the front. Keep your fingers comfortably closed, but relaxed, do not force them.
You should notice a considerable tension in the front (external with respect your body line) forearm muscles and in the area below the elbow. Try to intensi¬fy this feeling by mental concentration. Do not allow these muscles to tremble and do not force the flexion of the wrist.
3.27.2. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° upwards and pointing to the side (MC-forearm-up-90-90)
Keep your arm straight pointing to the floor. Now, rotate your wrist upwards as far as it forms an angle of 90° with respect to the forearm line and the floor. Your fingers should point to the external side (your fingers must be perpendicu¬lar to your line of sight). Keep your fingers comfortably closed, but relaxed, do not force them.
In this position your wrist form a 90° angle clockwise with respect to the posi¬tion of MC-forearm-up-90-0.
You should sense a powerful contraction of the back muscles of the forearm (the internal ones, facing to your body). Try to intensify the tension by mental concentration without trembling or strain.
3.27.3. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° backwards and pointing to the side (MC-forearm-back-90-90)
Adopt the same position as MC-forearm-up-90-90, but now turn your wrist 180° backwards so that your fingers point to your body.
You should feel that the tension concentrate very intensely in the zone just below the elbow. If your body fat levels are sufficiently low, you could see a very defined and hard muscle in this position. Keep your fingers comfortably
closed, but relaxed, do not force them. Try to concentrate your mental effort in this muscle.
3.27.4. Forearm MC with the wrist rotated 90° backwards and pointing backwards (MC-forearm-back-90-0)
Rotate your wrist 90° with respect to the position of MC-forearm-back-90-90 so that your fingers point backwards. Keep your fingers comfortably closed, but relaxed, do not force them.
In this position you can produce a powerful contraction of almost all forearm muscles.
3.27.5. Forearm MC with the wrist at 0° parallel to the body line and the fist rotated to the front (MC-forearm-0-front)
Keep your arm vertically straight, but relaxed with the wrist in a neutral posi¬tion (the palm should face to the leg). Keep your fingers comfortably closed, but relaxed, do not force them.
Try to elevate your fist to the front laterally and concentrate the tension on the forearm muscles.
3.27.6. Forearm MC with the wrist at 0° parallel to the body line and the fist rotated backwards (MC-forearm-0-back)
Adopt the same position as MC-forearm-0-front but rotate your fist laterally backwards as far as you comfortably can. Try to intensify the contraction of the forearm muscles. Keep your fingers comfortably closed, but relaxed, do not force them.
3.27.7. Forearm MC with the wrist perpendicular to the body line and the fist rotated to the internal side (MC-forearm-90-internal)
The position is very similar to MC-forearm-0-front, but now you must rotate your wrist 90° counter clockwise. Keep your fingers comfortably closed, but re¬laxed, do not force them.
3.27.8. Forearm MC with the wrist perpendicular to the body line and the fist rotated to the external side (MC-forearm-90-external)
The position is very similar to MC-forearm-0-back, but now you must rotate your wrist 90° counter clockwise. Keep your fingers comfortably closed, but re¬laxed, do not force them.
3.27.9. Forearm MC with the arm in a neutral position (MC-forearm- neutral)
This is an exercise similar to a grip, so the relative position of the arm is not too important.
Clench strongly, but carefully, your fist and keep the tension 5-10 breathings. In successive performances try to reduce progressively the finger pressure against the closed palm and replace it by mental contraction in a closed fist, but relaxed, posture.
In this position the wrist should be perfectly rigid.
3.28. Finger MC (MC-finger)
The control of the finger muscles involve also very powerfully the forearm muscles, so it can be considered a mixed contraction. These controls used to be easy because there is a very strong pre-existing mind-fingers link.
3.28.1. Finger squeezing (MC-finger-1)
Imagine that you have to squeeze a tennis ball. Adopt this position and con¬tract powerfully your fingers, but without strain. Keep the tension 5-10 breath¬ings or use some of the more advanced MC techniques.
3.28.2. Finger stretching (MC-finger-2)
Stretch your fingers completely and contract them in this position. Remember the extraordinary importance of MC in stretched positions. Never skip the per¬formance of stretched MC.
3.29. Preliminary exercises for the legs
There are many good exercises for toning and strengthening the legs. However, we shall study here only four very complete exercises that cover practically all muscles of the leg, permit an easy progression, provide additional cardio benefit and have been described in every Physical Culture course.
1. Walking in place (WP). The key to do properly this easy and very healthy exercise is to bend your leg backwards as far as you comfortably can in the first part of the exercise and later (with the leg in the same position) try to elevate your knee as high as you can in a slow and controlled way without ballistic actions. In this way you work isometrically the other leg (the sustaining one) in the alternating movement. You must alternate the leg motion in a posture similar to a flamingo pose. Stand erect and raise one knee while you bend backwards the lower part of the same leg. Dur¬ing this movement you must keep the equilibrium with the other stretched leg only. Now, lower the knee and repeat the same motion with the other leg. Do this in a cyclic fashion. You can change this walking exercise into a very strenuous one applying additional MC contraction to the moving muscles, so you need very few reps to strengthen your legs very effect¬ively. You can lean against a wall if you need it at first. Walking in place without MC contraction and performed during 30 min or more is one of the best cardiovascular exercises . This simple exercise is also the safest one for your joints, because it does not imply any impact or repetitive ex¬ternal resistance motion . The Maxalding variation of this exercise con¬sists in doing it lying supine. This variation allows a more powerful abdom-inal work. Remember to do it slowly. Optimal results are achieved using slow MC breathing (SMCB). Don't count the number of steps, but the number of breathings. There is another extraordinary variant of the walk¬ing in place (perhaps my favourite) exercise that uses dynamic muscle control (DMC). It is equivalent to a hard trekking. Walk slowly (each step should be synchronized with an inspiration or expiration of every SMCB) contracting all muscles of the legs without forcing them to vibrate. Don't use antagonistic resistance, the muscles must be contracted during all motion, not to work one against the other. The sensation should be very similar to walk in a very viscous liquid or to hard skiing. If you perform this exercise correctly you should notice also a very powerful contraction of the complete abdominal wall. If you are in good form you can try a com¬plete contraction of all the muscles of the body, but remember to be care-ful and progressive and to walk slowly, because a too quick movement can produce an excessive tension in the muscles of the back. Performed this way dynamic muscle controlled walking (DMCW) is one of the most complete exercises ever designed. Don't overdo it, 5 to 10 min per day should be sufficient. The ultimate combination is to alternate 10 forward steps with 10 backwards steps, do it so and feel the power of MC!
2. Squats. One of the best exercises for the legs. There is a no ending con¬troversy about the safety of the complete squat. In general the exercise is safe, but both too much weight or too much repetitions can make it dan¬gerous for the knees. However, Maxalding does not use weights or high repetitions, so you should not have any problems if your joints are in good form. The Maxalding squat uses two techniques in order to make the exer¬cise more productive. The first one is tilting, you simply incline your body- weight to the side that you are rising. The second technique is better, be¬cause it does not imply any imbalance, and is based in dynamic muscle control (DMC). Contract all your leg muscles during the squat movement, inspire during the raising phase and exhale during the lowering phase. Perform the exercise as slowly as you can. The muscle contraction must be fluid and not shaking, avoiding antagonistic actions. You can test your¬self sometimes trying to do one leg squats, but I do not recommend them for regular training.
3. Lateral raises. Simply raise one leg to the side as far as you comfortably can contracting all leg muscles simultaneously without forcing them.
4. Toe raises. This is a typical exercise for the development of the calf muscles. Remember to contract the calf muscles during both phases of the movement that should be done very slowly.
The combination of MC and walking in place (WP) is one of the most effect¬ive fat burners I know. One splendid possibility is the aforementioned DMCW. Another one is to do some WP steps in between each MC isolation. This con¬tributes to raise your heart and breathing rate. The results can be extraordinary. The optimal sequence is this: 5 SMCB with WP + 1 MC isolation (Saldo-Pullum method, 1 contraction of 3 slow breathings + 3 ballistic contractions of 1 breath each) + 5 SMCB with WP + ... Perform it from head to toes.
This method has an additional mental training benefit. First, its warming effect helps to improve your MC contraction and sensing awareness. Second, it teaches you how to relax your muscles, and to slow down voluntarily your heart and breathing during stressing situations. You can think that WP during 5 breathings are not a very demanding activity, but do it properly and feel the res¬ults after 1 hour of continuous training.
This is a simple example of interval training. In fact, the Saldo-Pullum tech¬nique (alterning slow and quick performances) is an advanced example of this general idea. Another very productive variation is the Tabata's protocol .
We shall apply the Tabata's method to WP.
• Warm up: 3 min. Slow pace WP.
• 5 breathings with slow pace + 10 breathings with fast pace (you don't need to run in place, but to raise your knees as much as you can without jerking and as fast as you are able without beating forcibly the floor).
• Cold down: 3 min. Slow pace WP.
3.30. MC of the muscles of the leg
3.30.1. Gluteal MC (gluteus maximus) (MC-gluteal)
This is a simple method to isolate powerfully the gluteus. Keep your legs straight at shoulder width and open your feet outwards as far as they form an appreciable angle with your line of sight. Now, trying to keep both legs straight, bend your back slightly backwards. The weight imbalance produced by the pos¬ition of the back should produce a remarkable contraction of the gluteus. Prob¬ably, the thighs contract also, but you can reduce this contribution with practice.
You can work one side more intensely tilting the back to such side.
3.30.2. Front upper leg MC
This involves the quadriceps muscles. Each portion of the quadriceps is very difficult to isolate from the others, so the best approach is to vary the joint angles in order to produce different levels of contraction of each part.
220.127.116.11. Quadriceps contraction with straight legs and feet to the front (MC-quadriceps-1)
Stand erect with legs perfectly straight and feet pointing to the front. Now try to bend your knees backwards, but without varying the position. Some people find easier to try to raise the kneecaps in this position. You should notice a powerful contraction in the front of the thighs.
18.104.22.168. Quadriceps contraction with straight legs and feet rotated outwards (MC-quadriceps-2)
This exercise is performed exactly in the same form than MC-quadriceps-1, but this time you should point your feet outwards. This vary the contraction of the quadriceps intensifying the action of the external portions.
22.214.171.124. Quadriceps contraction with one advanced straight leg (MC- quadriceps-3)
Keep your legs straight, but advance one of them with its feet pointing to the front. Contract the quadriceps as in MC-quadriceps-1. You should observe a more intense contraction in the upper part, near the hips. You can do this con¬traction even harder raising the contracted leg to the front forming a 90° angle with your body (parallel to the floor), but be very careful, because the muscles are very prone to cramping in this forced position.
If you try to relax the quadriceps with a leg in this position, the tensor fasciae latae and the sartorius muscles can be powerfully contracted also.
126.96.36.199. Upper leg contraction in a stretched position (adductors, gracilis, iliopsoas, pectineus) (MC-leg-upper)
This exercise is an excellent alternative to PNF stretching of the legs. Keep your legs straight and open them to sides as far as your comfortably can. Now contract powerfully your upper leg muscles. Keep the contraction 5-10 breath¬ings or apply some of the advanced MC techniques.
You can combine this exercise with lateral raises to increase safely your range of motion.
3.30.3. Rear upper leg MC (hamstrings) (MC-hamstrings)
You can work the muscles of the hamstrings very powerfully with MC, but be very careful, because these muscles are very prone to painful crampings. Per¬form each contraction slowly and progressively always under the trembling point.
188.8.131.52. MC of the hamstrings in a stretched position (MC-hamstrings-1)
Keep one leg completely straight and the other (the contracted one) slightly bended. In this position try to move the bended leg backwards but do not move it. Feel the contraction and try to intensify it mentally. When you have de¬veloped the mind muscle connection, the imaginary movement is not neces¬sary.
Sometimes could be helpful to feel the contraction produced when you stretch these muscles with the leg completely straight in a elevated position.
184.108.40.206. MC of the muscles of the hamstrings in a contracted position (MC-hamstrings-2)
Stand erect and place your hands over a solid wall or furniture in order to keep balance. Bend one leg so that the lower leg forms a 90° angle with the upper leg. The other leg must be kept straight.
In this position try to point your toes backwards as far as you reasonably can. You should notice a very powerful contraction in the back of the leg. Be careful with the possibility of cramping.
In advanced stages you do not need to rotate the feet in order to produce the isolation. Besides, varying the angle of the leg you can transfer some of the tension to the surrounding muscles, especially the calf muscles.
3.30.4. Front lower leg MC (tibialis anterior) (MC-tibialis)
This control is very easy. You can do it standing erect or sitting on a chair. Keep your legs straight or forming a 90° and raise your feet forward as far as you can. You should notice a powerful contraction of the tibialis anterior. Keep the position and try to intensify the contraction mentally.
3.30.5. Calf MC (gastrocnemius, soleus) (MC-gastrocnemius)
This control is easier in a sitting position (legs at 90°) at first. Put your feet firmly over the floor and try to raise the calves. Most people are able to contract the calves in this way.
When you master this contraction, try to contract your calves in a lunge posi¬tion or raising your body weight over your toes. This way you can work the muscles from different angles. You could observe some additional tension in the surrounding muscles, especially the hamstrings.
183 Philosophy, Science and Practice of Maxalding 3.30.6. Toe MC
1. You can work your toes both standing or sitting. The first exercise is to contract your toes downwards as far as you can without strain. Keep the contraction and try to intensify it during 5-10 breathings. The tibialis anteri¬or is worked also to some extent in this position.
2. The second one is the raising of the toes with the legs straight and the feet firmly placed over the floor. Raise your toes upwards as comfortably you can and keep the tension several breaths. You should notice that the calves are contracted also in this position.
You can use the alternative movement from (1) to (2), specially if you are sit¬ting, to feel very clearly the isolation of the tibialis anterior (1) or the gast- rocnemius (2).
4. Nutrition and diet
Proper diet and nutrition are cornerstones of the Maxalding system. Both Maxick and Monte Saldo were very clever nutritionists, experts in the art of re¬ducing bodyweight without decreasing the strength and endurance levels.
There are not "miraculous" diets. Actually, the correct diet follows always a very definite pattern. Unfortunately, nowadays the confusion is worse than ever and people change desperately from one extreme to the other with harmful consequences for their health (and for their money, too).
Maxick and Saldo advocate a rich and varied diet in little quantities. The in¬gested foods, being important, are not the only factor. A complete and healthy digestion is as important. In this way, Maxalding constitutes a complex system in which nutrition, breathing and exercise are inseparably connected.
Maxick consumed far less food than most of people and Monte Saldo ad¬vised to not eat more than two meals a day if possible.
Recent research seems to confirm the Maxalding theories, proving that "equi¬librium diets" (diets with a caloric intake equal of slightly under the daily caloric consumption) are in general the most beneficial ones in terms of health and longevity.
The modern crazy bodybuilding obsession for unnatural muscle masses has produced a very risky and unjustified tendency to consume huge amounts of re¬fined protein and has generated a multimillion euro industry based on all sort of absurd supplements.
If you follow a balanced and varied diet, like the Mediterranean diet, you do not need any supplement.
The real problem is that people want to be like other guys, neglecting obvious factors like genetics or chemical enhancements, instead of trying hard to achieve his or her best own body.
Aesthetic standards are not absolute. Who had a better body, Maxick, Tony Sansone, Alan Mead or John Grimek, to mention only a few? All and none. The important thing was that all these great athletes achieved their best possible bodies by natural means.
If your body type is of a classical type, like Sansone, try hard to achieve this kind of perfection, I can assure that you will be deeply admired. But, if you per¬sist in violating your own nature and in being like Alan Mead or Grimek (to not mention modern unnatural bodybuilders), your result will be surely unsatisfact¬ory and unpleasant.
Don't be obsessed with any preconceived image of yourself. The old natural bodybuilders said train for shape and the strength will come. I would add, train for health and your best body will come.
We shall comment every Maxalding point regarding dietetics.
> Whether a man be training for a fifty yards sprint, a high or long jump, a test calling for a more sustained effort, or only in the desire to regain lost health; apart from judiciously arranged exercises, calculated to give him control of the particular muscles used, there must be close attention given to diet (HOW TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). Rational exercise is not enough to achieve maximal results from training. It is necessary to follow a proper diet with respect to the individual needs.
> Probably the fallacy most accepted ... is, that the more food one takes, the more strength one gains. A more harmful doctrine could not be propagated, for if the stomach be overcrowded there is, instead of an in¬crease in strength, a distinct loss [...] All have at one time or another no¬ticed that a heavy meal is followed by a period of sleepiness, and a tem¬porary loss of full mental power. This fact in itself should indicate ..., the danger of over eating (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). A correct diet does not depend only on the quantity and quality of food, but as much as these on digestion. An efficient digestion avoids the dangers related with the ingestion of high amounts of food, conserving also energy. The Maxalding abdominal and respiratory exercises are the best ones for im¬proving digestion and they are unbeatable to help the internal organs to extract the last piece of energy from the ingested food, even in difficult situations.
> It is undeniable that a man possessed of superfluous tissue is unhealthy [...]There is little question that the cause of a very large proportion of the ills rampant to day, is this "eating for eating's sake". (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). The effects over health of a severe excess of body fat are terrible: difficulty of breathing and motion, joint pain, deformities in some bones, blood and circulatory problems, high risk of heart attacks, etc.
> The rule which I follow, and advise, is not to take more food than is just sufficient to carry on the work of the body (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). Maxick ate far less food than the average man. His theories about keeping the food intake at an equilibrium with the body consumption
have been confirmed by recent investigations with animals and human longevity statistics. A diet which is just or slightly below the estimated cal¬oric expenses is the best for general health, improve all internal functions and keep them at an optimum level. But, there is no need to calculate the caloric intake of every piece of food you take. There is a simple rule to eat correctly, stop in the very moment in which you feel the first signs of satis¬faction.
> The greatest authorities have agreed that, according to the formation of our stomachs and teeth, we are carniverous animals, and therefore we re¬quire meat for our proper sustenance (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). Modern scientific research has proven conclusively that humans need animal protein, because our bodies are unable to produce and syn¬thesize some essential amino acids, necessary to build our own proteins. So, strict vegetarian diets are unhealthy and detrimental. Besides, the iron required for our blood can be only obtained from meat, because the veget¬able iron is inorganic and cannot be assimilated.
> Here arises another very important point, that observing regularity in eat¬ing. One should never wait until faint with hunger before eating. A happy medium should be struck, and the hour arranged for with a due observ¬ance of the fact that the appetite should be good enough for one to be able to eat well, but no ravenously (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). Today, it is very difficult, due to our quick lifestyle and stress, to have reg¬ular schedules and meals. This contributes to a inadequate digestion and additional internal body stress. You should try to devote fixed hours to the important meals.
> Allow yourself time to eat slowly, and by masticating the food well, lighten the labours of the stomach (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). Meal time is a time for both physical and mental relax. You must enjoy your meal.
> Breakfast should not be a heavy meal, but composed of something both light and nourishing. Milk should be its most important constituent, and whole-meal bread is in all cases superior to white (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). When you get up, your body is not ready to assimilate large amounts of food. It needs some time to work properly. Milk is one of the most important foods in a healthy diet, except if you are intolerant of some of its constituents. But, you should not take too much (0.5-1 litre/day is enough for most purposes), because it increases the body fat levels quickly and some people can develop some intolerance. An excess of cal¬cium could also be risky.
> Tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco, are all poisons, and their immoderate use cannot be too forcibly condemned (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). This statement is self-evident.
> There may be some difficulty at first to discover what amount of food to take at a meal, but after a few experiments your own discrimination will put you on the right track. It is a good general principle that you should feel, after a meal, as though you could still go on eating (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). There is no need to a crazy measure of all quantit¬ies and caloric value of the foods you eat. This simple suggestions are enough for most purposes. Remember the "equilibrium principle". To eat much less food than you need may be as dangerous as an excess of eat¬ing. It is better to keep your food intake near equilibrium and to increase the body energy expenditure by means of rational exercise. The recent anorexia plague is a proof of how harmful are most non professional diet¬ing advices and proves that you should never try unrealistic goals based on today fashion. Keep in mind that most of the models have had several operations and their pics are computer retouched. This is just the opposite to the Maxalding philosophy and lifestyle. Never forget to reinforce your will power as much as your body.
> For increasing weight: A glass of hot water taken on raising flushes the system. Drink little or nothing with meals, but make a habit of taking plenty of good water midway between meals. Reduce all solid foods to a liquid before swallowing, by thorough mastication. The best flesh creating foods are: All kinds of soup, from which all grease has been carefully removed; mutton, beef, chicken and turkey; eggs, boiled, scrambled or poached, or in form of an omelet; potatoes, mashed, boiled or roasted; asparagus, beans, peas, rice, corn, cauliflower, onions, and all salads in season, with which use plenty of oil ; prunes, apples, dates, figs, peaches, grapes, apricots; all kinds of milk puddings, cheese, cereals and whole-meal bread. All foods should carefully and cleanly prepared. Cocoa and chocol¬ate are good beverages (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). The Max- alding diets are simple and straightforward. Monte Saldo will detail much more these advices later.
> For the reduction of weight: Copious perspiration should be induced by exercising in warm woollen clothing; the body must be frequently mas¬saged, specially where any fatty tissue is deposited. Avoid all starchy foods, and do not drink with meals on any account. White bread, potatoes and cereals must not be taken. Eat lean meat, chicken and game, ham
and tongue, white fish, green vegetables, fruit and toast. Most important of all, avoid constipation. The consumption of plenty of fruit and the obser¬vation of regularity in emptying the bowels, added to proper abdominal ex¬ercise, should go far to prevent the occurrence of this disorder (How TO BECOME A GREAT ATHLETE, Maxick). Perspiration must be induced by natural means and never by an excess of temperature or the use of plastic clothes. You must drink plenty of water in order to compensate the loss of water. Massages can be very helpful in order to mobilize that exceeding fat tissue and for improving circulation to these areas. MC is a very effect¬ive from of natural massage in itself. Observe that Maxick suggested the elimination of starches (carbs), but this cannot be considered a kind of low-carb diet, because, he advises to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, so the needed beneficial carb intake is perfectly attainable.
In later writings, some more detailed points are prescribed by Monte and Court Saldo, completing the dietetic Maxalding system.
It is a generally accepted theory that obesity from whatever cause is a disorder of metabolism, having for its chief characteristic a disposition for fat to deposit in and on the body to an excessive degree. To infer that all obese persons are unhealthy is to misunderstand the difference between constitutional and acquired obesity. Certain family histories have shown obesity to have affected every member for generations, without inferiority in mental or physical health having been recorded, and with no re¬duction in average age. It is better that such people should remain obese within reas¬onable limits rather than make themselves ill and miserable through drastic exercise and severe dietetic restrictions. But the great majority of cases of obesity are acquired, and affect the middle aged, or those past the prime of life. Obesity then becomes a dangerous disorder chiefly because there are invariably fatty accumulations in the heart itself, which restrict and impair the cardiac movements. Added to this handicap, the hearth is called upon to do more work than at any time previously. And of course the blood vessels are correspondingly overworked. There are numerous cases of ac¬quired obesity of obscure pathology, but simple obesity is being dealt with in the present article, of the nature usually associated with middle-age and general unfitness. When the seriousness of the conditions is aggravated by raised blood-pressure and the consequent risk of arterial degeneration, exercise of a strenuous nature becomes dangerous, and the cure of relief is then sought by a total abstention of fat creating foods. At first glance this may appear to be reasonable and safe, but when it is real¬ized that reduction of weight by this means, whether sudden or otherwise, will leave the heart, abdominal and other organs in a flabby condition, with the abdominal vis¬cera inefficiently supported, it will be seen that a very precarious condition will super¬vene unless coincidentally with the reduction of weight, light general exercise is gradu¬ally incorporated to a degree sufficient to tone the organs and muscular system gener-
ally. Consequently those person whose condition is so bad that very little exercise can at first be taken, are earnestly advised not to make sudden and drastic changes of diet. Graduation is as important in dietetic matters as it is in exercise. Instead of redu¬cing at the dangerous rate of two or three pounds weekly at first, be satisfied with any reduction, however slight. This can be accomplished by a partial elimination from the diet of fat creating foods and the indulgence in light control exercises, specially those for the abdomen. When these exercises become easy to perform and the muscles are gaining tone, a further diminution in the fat creating foods will then be safe. Progress¬ively more exercise can be indulged in and the treatment continued upon those lines, until a good condition of general health and well-being has been established. This de¬gree of health and physical fitness will be reached long before it has been found ne¬cessary to completely eliminate all fat creating foods from the diet. Better oxidation through an increased intake of oxygen accounts for this. That is why a really fit person can thrive on a mixed diet. Ladies can remove all undesired fat from the body, coincid- entally with an improvement in health and vitality. It is quite unnecessary to starve. It is possible to starve the fatty tissue and feed the muscular tissue.
(NATURE'S WAY TO HEALTH, MONTE SALDO)
Very wise advices that prove the deep medical knowledge of Monte Saldo.
We must remember here the very important Maxalding principle of individual¬ity.
The establishment and maintenance of health depend on the employment of a suffi¬ciency of natural exercise and natural food for the particular individual.
No cut-and-dried system however excellent, can bring identical results to two per¬sons.
This is a key point, because it will be absurd to prescribe a diet based on European foods to an individual who lives in another continent and has hardly any possibility to obtain them. So, proper digestion is as important as the con¬crete foods taken. Proper digestion depends on:
obviously, genetics cannot be changed (for now) and the available foods are (unfortunately) restricted in many countries, so Maxalding insists in correct mastication, extremely efficient abdominal exercises and full-tidal breathing.
Maxalding dietetic advices were used successfully in very adverse circum¬stances, like both World Wars. Most of the food recommendations are referred to easily available foods in Europe and North America .
Maxalding diets are arranged with the object of getting full benefit from easily obtain¬able foods. Sometimes only very small alterations in existing diets are recommended.
During the war and post-war periods it has become obvious that many people can keep perfectly healthy on what would have previously been considered a very restric¬ted dietary. Maxaldists who are serving in the Services are able to get maximum bene¬fit from the food provided, by following certain rules of eating which are not actually connected with the forms of food taken.
These rules will be explained now.
• Observe regularity in the time you take your meals, do your exercise, get your bowel actions and take your rest. Regularity means longevity be¬cause the functions become accustomed to the performance of duties at certain times, and if these times are respected within reason, little or no strain is brought to bear upon the organs. Thus the person who is meth¬odical, without the necessity becoming an automaton, is a person on the highway to fitness and efficiency (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• The amount of food that will keep an average person in perfect health and strength is amazingly small, but for its full value and benefit to be gained it is necessary to reduce it to a liquid in the mouth by thorough mastication. Taste every morsel of food, and continue to masticate as long as any taste or flavour remains. By the time that the flavour has gone, the food will have disappeared likewise, and the appetite will be speedily appeased (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• Unfired vegetables and fruits are far richer in vitamins than cooked veget¬ables and fruits (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• Egg-yolk, butter, cream, milk, the fat of the beef, and fish oils are notably rich in vitamins, and as a sufficiency of these food elements is essential to health, growth and favourable metabolism, the above should be borne in mind when purchasing or ordering food, particularly for children (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• The system should be flushed by the ingestion of considerable quantities of liquid. Such liquid should be taken in small draughts, and not in quantit¬ies large enough to unduly distend the stomach. Liquid should not be taken with meals, but about midway between meals. The value of pure
water and barley-water in all cases of kidney weakness or disease can never be over-estimated (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• Garlic, by the way, is the most wonderful food in the vegetable kingdom, not for its nourishing properties as much as for its blood purifying proper¬ties (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo). Take this advice seriously, be¬cause it is plenty of reason. The addition of garlic to as many dishes as you reasonably can has a lot of advantages, both for health and food taste. For example, the combination of garlic and lemon juice in preparing some meats can reduce the use of salt (and another spices) to a minim¬um.
• Concentrated foods are not advised, as they do not leave sufficient residue in the intestines. From three-quarters to four-fifths of the solids taken should consists in cereal foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. The balance of the solids should be made up collectively from meat, fish, cheese, eggs and poultry (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo). The three- quarter rule is very easy to follow: 1/4 cereals, 1/4 fresh fruits, 1/4 veget¬ables (preferably uncooked) and 1/4 other foods. Fish is better than meat in general due to the presence of unnatural hormones and other sub-stances in meat. Dairy products are very important, especially yoghurt. Remember that a slice of cheese has in general more proteins than the same weight of meat. But, do not take too much fatty dairy products in general.
• Avoid white bread, cocoa and chocolate, if you suffer from constipation (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• To keep the intestinal residue mobile, perform abdominal controls (particu¬larly the one side lateral, central and horizontal isolations in the form of in¬ternal massage), several times daily, preferably after taking liquid. As these exercises bring blood to the stomach, and therefore assist rather than retard digestion, they are safe for performance anywhere and at any time. All breathing and abdominal exercises that are within your power, are beneficial, and skipping also if the heart is strong enough for strenu¬ous exercise (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo). The abdominal controls are very beneficial to digestion if you do not eat in excess and do not hold your breath at all.
• The most useful vegetables (fibre contents) are: Cauliflower, lettuce, spin¬ach, garlic, endive, celery, onions, Brussels sprouts and carrots. A liberal use of oil (olive oil) in the salads will be valuable as an internal lubricant. The most useful fruits are: Apples, figs, prunes, pears, grapes, dates, cur¬rants, plums and oranges (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• For the sufferer from indigestion. The simplest and plainest foods only should be taken, and on no account should liquids be taken with meals. Foods to avoid are mainly the following: Nuts, dried and tinned foods, condiments, sauces, highly seasoned and spiced dishes, rich and fatty sweets, sweets, chocolate, cakes and pastries, fatty fish (such as eels and salmon), pig in any form, lobster, cucumber, onions, tough meat, strong tea, coffee and alcohol. The main diet should consist of easily di¬gested cereal foods, particularly those containing the whole of the wheat, fresh fruit, vegetables, lean tender meat, poultry, white fish (such as plaice, sole and haddock), eggs and little cheese. Crackers, wholemeal and charcoal biscuits are also of the greatest value (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo). Note the importance that Monte Saldo gives to dietetic fibre, many years before the present vogue.
• Great importance must be attached to the fact that the digestive process almost ceases during sleep. Consequently the last meal must be of a light nature, and should be taken an appreciable time before retiring. The time that elapses between your last meal one day and your first meal the fol¬lowing day should be at least twelve hours, thus allowing the stomach a long rest (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• Not a crumb should be taken between meals, but water and barley-water in small but reasonable draughts. Milk may be taken if easily digested, but this must be sipped, and malted milk is preferable to ordinary milk . It should be taken at blood-heat. Bullion or clear soup, from which all fat has been removed, is recommended. Buttermilk is invaluable (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo).
• For people who have acquired fat, it will be wise to begin by following out the dietetic advices first and to take up the exercises very gradually. Turk¬ish baths have no permanent effect upon weight reduction, for they only remove water which is replaced as soon as liquid is taken again. At the same time, if perspiration is induced by exercise, a speedier result will be secured, because such exercises burns up the fat. A full knowledge of the heart's condition should be taken from the medical adviser before exer¬cise strenuous enough to induce perspiration should be indulged in. For those who are reported medically to be in favourable condition for such measures, the advice upon perspiring may be taken with great benefit. Carbonaceous foods should be taken very sparingly. These include: All foods containing starch, sugar and fats. Eat sparingly but masticate thor¬oughly. White bread, biscuits, porridge, pastries, cakes, preserves, pota-toes, and practically all cereal foods should be avoided. The amount of li¬quid taken does no affect obesity to any great extent if it is free from fat- building matter, and is taken in bulk, and not sipped. Plain water is the best drink for the obese. Foods in general favour are: Lean beef, mutton, veal, chicken, eggs, cheese -sparingly-, fresh green vegetables, onions, tomatoes, toasted wholemeal bread -sparingly-, special biscuits free from starch or fat, raw fruits, fruits cooked without sugar, and white fish. When the weight has been reduced to a satisfactory degree, a plain mixed diet, very sparingly taken, is likely to be healthier than a restricted diet, if the weight can be kept down comfortably by the exercise. Decrease in weight should not be expected to appear very quickly, nor should the weight be removed too suddenly. It is wonderful that patience and quiet confidence will accomplish (THE MAXALDING BOOK, Monte Saldo). This diet can be adjus¬ted very easily bearing in mind the 4/4 rule. Simply substitute the 1/4 of cereals by another 1/4 of green vegetables or fresh fruits. The reduction of weight is usually very fast in the first weeks and after this, it seems to reach a sticking point. This is the reason by which many people abandon diets and regain weight with negative effects. It is much more effective to reduce weight very progressively and not to despair.
Although the explained rules are enough for most purposes, Monte Saldo wrote and special treatise on sports performance. In this book are detailed a lot of very useful and deep insights about dietetics. Many of them are similar to the explained ones and some are new.
The first comment is almost a prophecy.
• Of recent years, the word "vitamins" has appeared in all matters relating to diet, and while more of the chemistry of food is now known than when I started my studies, very little more is known as to the effect of natural foods on definite types of persons and digestions than was known thirty years ago (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• Muscular tissue can only be built up by a right amount of of the right kind of exercise and a diet generous in tissue building elements (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• The main tissue building foods are: Fresh, lean and tender beef, mutton and chicken; non fatty fish as sole and plaice, new-laid eggs (lightly boiled
or poached) (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo)
• Foods that are both tissue-building and energizing (Foods in this class are also fattening if taken in excess of bodily needs): Whole-wheat foods, oat-meal, barley, all kinds of nuts, dried or fresh beans and peas, fresh milk, cream, pure (unsalted) butter, cheese and honey, fatty fish, such as sal-mon or herring, beetroot, potatoes, preserves made with pure fruit, raisins, sultanas, muscatels, dates, figs, prunes ans sugar. Demerara sugar is of greater value than refined white sugar (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• Blood cleansing and eliminative foods: Apples, pears, grapes, oranges, lemons, grape-fruit, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, water¬cress, land-cress, spinach, lettuce, endives, celery, kale, onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts and all brassicas (cabbage family) (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• Wholemeal bread should be taken to exclusion of the white. If such breads causes any gastric discomfort to persons with sensitive stomachs, it will be wise for them to keep to one of the guaranteed wholemeal breads (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• The list of foods that I have given is a very small one and while there are many other similar foods, doubtless of like use in their particular categor¬ies, those I have listed are the simple and natural foods that have main¬tained many thousands of my pupils, as well as my family and myself in perfect health over many years (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• If the simple foods recommended are correctly prepared, thoroughly en¬joyed and carefully masticated, gastronomic enjoyment will be experi-enced and maximum benefit to the health gained (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• The most important foods for the individual should be taken at the begin¬ning of the meal (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• All foods that can be eaten and digested in the raw state should be given preference to those that require cooking (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• In the vegetable kingdom there is nothing comparable, in my opinion, to watercress or land-cress for blood cleansing. But the eating of a few drop¬ping stalks (a "bunch") is of little value. A good bulk of fresh cress is ne¬cessary, both for the sake of the valuable salts, the chlorophyll and other
elements in the leaves, as well as for the "roughage" for intestinal cleans¬ing in the stalks (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• The wise person avoids all sauces, condiments and artificially preserved foods (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• To sum up, only simple foods in small variety and in as natural a condition as possible should be taken at one meal. From day to day proportions of the elements of the three forms of diet may be varied to suit existing con¬ditions (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• If the weight is too low increase the intake of protein and energizing foods, but always take care to be moderate in the consumption of proteins and energizing foods (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• Generosity with blood-cleansing foods, specially ripe fruits and green ve¬getables, would be beneficial and one can hardly eat too much of this kind of food (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• The number of meals taken daily must to a certain extent depend on one's profession and convenience in these matters. From my own experience and observations the highest condition of health seems to be gained on two meals daily when one is able to arrange matters in that way. If, for ex¬ample, the first meal can be taken about 11 a.m. and the second and final meal at 7 p.m., a very good period of rest is given to the digestive ma¬chinery, assuming that the final meal were digested by the time one re¬tired for the night, sat, 10 to 11 p.m. Given 8 to 9 hours of sleep (the latter would be necessary for the athlete in training) one would rise at from 7 to 8 a.m. This gives a clue of the two meals daily plan, when the hours of raising and retiring are later or earlier than those mentioned (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• The mind should be free of all problems when food is being taken and all meal-times should be periods of happy conversation, consideration and courtesy to the rest of the company (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
4.1. Specific suggestions on building muscular tissue
• The diet should contain a higher percentage of protein than carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Thus, pure, lean meat would be a more suitable food for building muscular tissue than wheat. But wheat is the more desir¬able food from the health standpoint. Wheat would be better than meat for one wishing to build up tissue during strenuous exercise such as rowing. On the other hand, the man wishing to put on muscular tissue for the pur-pose of lifting heavy weights would naturally be better served with meat or poultry, eggs and milk, for his efforts have to be concentrated into a few powerful ones and he will acquire adipose tissue if he takes and excess of energizing food. A diet containing a high percentage of energizing foods is useful to the distance runner or, in fact, any athlete who has to spread his efforts over a long period (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
Both Maxick and Saldo were experts in the art of bodyweight reduction, i.e., to decrease bodyweight healthy and naturally without sapping strength.
4.2. Specific suggestions on weight-reduction
• There is nothing difficult in removing 10 per cent of a healthy man's weight in a few weeks, but to do this and retain his strength and endurance is not so simple (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• A man whose weight has been reduced by drastic exercise, artifical sweating, purging or any other clumsy and unscientific method, must be weakened. Therefore, all weight-reduction of the muscular man must be accomplished by dietetics, and his strength be maintained by just the right amount of specialized exercise to meet the requirements of his sport (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• In the case of the athlete requiring endurance as well as strength, cereal foods can be taken, but for the man requiring concentrated strength at a reduced bodyweight, the main diet should be selected from lean meat, poultry and eggs, while fruits must be used to keep the bowels active and green vegetables (in the raw state, if possible) to keep the blood cleansed and the vascular system supple (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• Tissue-building food must, of course, be taken in cases requiring body re¬duction, but such food should not be taken in excess of needs, or even in
a quantity likely to maintain the tissue at its existing weight. The body weight must, of course, be carefully checked daily, so no drastic reduction in weight is permitted. A clever trainer does not keep his charge's weight reduced for a long period before a contest or record breaking effort, for to remain below one's normal weight for long may result in general weak¬ness (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• Weight reducing in the athlete who is not carrying any adipose tissue must be carried out without physical strain and must involve a lower rate of building rather than an increased rate of breaking-down tissue, as well as the reduction of the water content of the blood for a definitely decided period before the weighting-in. But during the actual conditioning of the body by training, water should not be restricted for it is necessary to keep the organs of elimination (including the skin) completely and thoroughly active. It is recommended that the athlete should first discover how much weight he can reduce by the drying-out process, so that he does not re¬duce the muscular tissue by an ounce more than necessary. Water can be replaced in less than an hour, but muscle may take days to replace and moreover, loss of muscular tissue, even though the vitality be at its best, must result in a corresponding loss of strength. In conclusion, I wish to say that "drying-out" is not a necessary part of training or conditioning the body but only a method of getting an athlete "past the scales". The athlete who does not have to compete in a special weight-class, or who has a natural weight for his class, should never have to resort to the "dry- ing-out"process (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
• Some athletes who perspire freely during training find that when not train¬ing they get a better clearance of the bowels. This is becuase the perspir¬ation decreases the water content of the blood and also washes out the salts from the blood. But the athlete who finds that elimination is inclined to slow up during the period of rest can combat this difficulty by adopting a more eliminative diet. It is not necessary to make any change in the usual diet, but only in the proportions of the diet. Assuming that there is no diffi¬culty in regard to the body weight, then it will be only necessary to in¬crease the eliminative foods. If the muscular weight is too great, then there can be a decrease in the consumption of the proteins and so on (How TO EXCEL AT GAMES AND ATHLETICS, Monte Saldo).
5. Extreme and internal MC techniques
5.1. Advanced breathing techniques
First of all, I thank my maxaldist friends, specially Tak, their deep insights posted in the Maxalding forum about this subject.
Correct breathing is the key to most of the internal controls, because many of the muscle layers of our internal organs are not voluntary (as far as we know).
We have advised against many misconceptions and harmful breathing prac¬tices in a previous article, so here we are going to study some more advanced techniques that will provide you with new tools for enhancing your performance.
Remember to breathe always through your nose, both inspiration and expira¬tion!
There are some very simple tests that allow you to know your breathing abil¬ity accurately.
• The Buteyko's test: Breathe normally. In a moment, stop your breathing and hold it as long as you can without any forcing until you feel the slight¬est signs of suffocation. You should be able to regain normal breathing without problem after the test. Measure the time with a chronometer. If you can hold your breath more than 30 seconds you have a good breath¬ing capacity and balance (about 60 seconds indicates perfect health). Un¬der 20 seconds, you should carefully practice some of the next advanced breathing techniques.
• The SMCB test: Inspire fully (full tidal breathing) without any forcing and exhale relaxed and as slowly as you can. Measure the time of the exhala¬tion with a chronometer. Over 20 seconds indicates a good breathing ca¬pacity and control of the breathing muscles and organs. Under 10 seconds you have a poor control of your breathing. This is a very accurate test because it does not imply any Valsalva action. It measures simultan¬eously three important factors: breathing capacity, precise control of the breathing muscles and organs, and your CO2/O2 ratio.
• The MVB test: Perform an expiration the same as a SMCB test and try to inspire without air at the end of the exhalation. Relax all your breathing muscles and stop your chronometer. Don't exert any downwards pressure when you relax your muscles. If you can do one or more breathings without air at the end of a complete expiration without any suffocation, you have a good breathing control. This test is very appropriate to measure the breathing capacity under stressing conditions, because the fixed posi¬tion of the diaphragm in order to keep the vacuum simulates very well a situation of a large air demand. Besides, you teach your body to adjust its breathing rate to its optimal time without air supply, so that this practice re¬adjusts your CO2/O2 ratio to its optimal levels.
5.1.1. Maxick's virtual breathing (MVB)
The essence of this exercise is to make inspirations without air. But this tech¬nique, like any other, should not involve the least forcing or strain.
This exercise is based on the performance of an abdominal vacuum and vir¬tual breathing. Although this exercise is very safe (if carefully and properly used), if you feel some sign of discomfort, stop immediately and consult your doctor. The detailed description should be:
1. Do a perfect abdominal vacuum exhaling as much air as you comfortably can.
2. Try to inhale while you are holding your breath in the vacuum position, i.e., perform a MC contraction of the muscles involved in inhalation without air.
3. Relax your breathing muscles (exhale without air).
4. Repeat the virtual breathings, steps (2) and (3), as much as you can without any discomfort or strain. You should be able to breathe normally after the performance, without any sign of suffocation.
5. Relax and practice some SMCB.
The best technique to perform correctly and safely this exercise is this:
1. Do a perfect vacuum and hold your breath until you feel the first signs of need for air. Measure this holding time with a chronometer. Don't force yourself by any means. Such time will be your first reference and will be used only as a weekly test to measure your improvement. Remember that forcing you until suffocation is very dangerous and misleading.
2. Breathe normally (ideally with SMCB) during 10 breathings.
3. Perform 1 MVB (1 virtual breathing during the vacuum).
4. Breathe normally (10 breathings).
5. Perform 2 MVB (2 virtual breathings during vacuum)...
Do this exercise in a pyramidal form until the number of MVB completes the measured holding time. You can do less MVB than the prescribed time, but never do more. A good starting reference is not to hold the breath more than 1 MVB (about 5 seconds) the first weeks.
You can repeat this exercise several times a day combining the benefits of abdominal work improving cardiovascular efficiency, but don't overdo it.
Here you have some examples of measures about the safety of the exercise:
• Holding breath time: 5 MVB (30 seconds). Blood pressure (143/97), pulse (83).
• 30 seconds later (normal breathing): BP (129/88), pulse (78).
As you can see, the exercise is perfectly safe in healthy individuals.
The results are almost instantaneous and pleasant (if you don't force your¬self, I insist in this). This exercise can be very useful to increase the breathing and apnea performance and to relief some symptoms of certain breathing ill¬nesses like asthma.
The mechanism by which this exercise is so effective is simple. First, you train your body to keep a correct o2/Co2 ratio by natural means.
Second, you train your body and mind to endure longer periods without air supply, improving so the oxygen assimilation in each breath.
Third, and most important, during a MVB your breathing muscles must work against a very strong external resistance (the atmospheric pressure), due to the created vacuum. The voluntary expanding effort in such circumstances is prob¬ably the best natural strengthening method of the breathing muscles ever per¬formed. This muscular enhancement produces a greater supply of oxygen with each single inspiration (less muscular effort) and a better (relaxed) expiration that allows an improved elimination of the waste products.
The relaxing effects on the whole body after the correct performance of this exercise are also remarkable.
5.1.2. Slow muscle controlled breathing (SMCB) combined with MVB
The performance of SMCB during MC exercises is ideal for enhancing your aerobic capacity. I have registered increases of about 8 seconds in SMCB and Buteyko's tests in only two weeks.
I have found that the combination of SMCB and MVB reinforces their healthy effects. The MVB helps to perform longer SMCB and SMCB enhances the mus¬cular resistance against atmospheric pressure in MVB. Besides, the relaxing ef¬fects of SMCB are multiplied when combined with MVB.
You can perform the combination in this way (ladder form):
• 1 SMCB + 1 MVB.
• 2 SMCB + 2 MVB.
• 3 SMCB + 3 MVB...
At first, this combination can be more suitable: 5 SMCB + 1 MVB + 5 SMCB + 1 MVB + ... (you should increase your number of MVB every 5 SMCB if you can).
Remember that 2, 3, ... MVB implies 2, 3, ... virtual breathings without air (performed during the same abdominal vacuum), not 2, 3, ... new exercises with air supply in between. Besides, you must exhale all air from the lungs before the performance of MVB. This is the reason by which is very difficult to perform a large number of MVB, so that don't force yourself by any means.
The effects of combining MVB with SMCB are amazing. I decided not to change my aerobic activity (15-30 min of walking in place per day) in order to isolate the results due exclusively to the performance of the new breathing pat-terns. Here are some measures:
• Blood pressure (rest): 111/63 (other measures confirm this number, all are below 115/70).
• Pulse (rest): 50.
• Buteyko's test: +5 seconds (over the previous posted measures).
• SMCB test: +5 seconds.
• MVB test: +1 performance.
If we compare these numbers with the previous recorded ones 3 weeks be¬fore: BP(120/80), P(60), SMCB(20 s), we can observe a remarkable enhance¬ment of the measured parameters. This enhancement is very important, be¬cause it is recorded in a fit and trained man (myself).
• BP (rest) has reduced from 120/80 (mean) to below 115/65 (mean).
• Pulse has reduced from 60 to 50 (mean)!
• The breathing capacity and performance have increased also remarkably.
It is incredible how such simple exercises can produce so remarkable bene¬fits in a relatively short time. I encourage you to devote some minutes every day
5. Extreme and internal MC techniques 202 to the practice of these breathing techniques.
5.1.3. Controlled breath holding (CBH)
Holding the breath can be a dangerous practice if it is done under stressing conditions without proper adaptation. But, it can also be a very powerful tech¬nique to enhance all body functions and muscular performance by means of progressive and careful training.
Rest comfortably (sitting or lying) and practice SMCB during 5 to 10 minutes trying to exhale as slowly as you can without suffocation. Relax completely.
In this relaxing phase you should be able to notice clearly your own heart beats and they probably would be remarkably slower than in normal activity. Now, at the end of each complete expiration of SMCB, try to hold your breath without any strain during 1 heart beat. The following inhalation should be re¬laxed and without any sign of suffocation. Do this during several breathings and observe how your body, as you achieve deeper relaxed states, needs less oxy¬gen. When you feel this sensation, add one more heart beat to your breath holding time in the same way as before.
Increase progressively the breath holding time in this way until you feel the very first signs of discomfort. In such moment reduce in one heart beat your holding time.
I don't recommend to use this technique under stressing actions or during a workout, except in very justified situations and with extreme care.
I think that the general maximal time of breath holding that should be used in MC is which lasts during the most relaxed expiration you can perform. Although a more prolonged time could be safe, it is better not to force the oxygen intake.
5.1.4. Enhancement of the aerobic performance by means of MC breathing techniques
The most useful technique to enhance your cardiovascular performance by means of MC is the Maxick's virtual breathing combined with SMCB.
This combination allows you also longer breath holding times that can be trained with the methods outlined before.
This techniques does not exclude, but complement very well, aerobic activit¬ies like walking or swimming. Specially appealing to a maxaldist is the combina¬tion of MVB + SMCB with walking in place or muscle controlled walking.
5.2. Deep concentration techniques
5.2.1. Synchronized exhalation-contraction method (SECM)
This method is the most advanced and productive of all, because it involves several techniques like instinctive training, SMCB, fine tune of muscle contrac¬tion and relaxation and improvement of aerobic and anaerobic capacity, to mention only a few.
The method is very simple in essence. Perform a combination of MVB + SMCB for a few minutes until your expiration times stabilize to your maximum. Then, perform the MC isolations you wish in an analytical form (with fine tune of contraction and relaxation and no shaking), building and holding the contraction exactly during the same time as you are exhaling, no more no less.
It is extremely important that you do not force yourself by any means. Your breathing should be completely relaxed and your controls perfectly performed. Suffocation must be avoided like the plague.
This type of training has a lot of benefits if you are able to notice the subtle signals that your body generate during the training.
• The expiration times are a clear sign of your present physical form. Trying to make them longer is absurd and can destroy your results. Do you re¬member the almost endless discussion about the optimal contraction times for strength and muscle development? Well, in a previous article I suggested the use of "instinctive training", a technique pretty much used by the old strongmen and bodybuilders. Every day is different, some days you are plenty of pep and some others you are exhausted without any ap¬parent cause. Obviously, you cannot (and you should not) train the same all days, but you should adjust your efforts to your energy reserves. However, it is very difficult in general to make such adjustment in terms of repetitions or holding times. The SECM allows your body to generate ex¬actly the amount of work that it needs, because if you are tired, your own breathing muscles will not be able to keep long exhalation times and the contraction times will decrease accordingly.
• This type of training will permit you to work your body safely to its maxim¬um at every age, because it is your own body which decides the amount
of contraction that it needs.
• If properly performed, SECM avoids any chance of injury under normal cir¬cumstances, because you cannot force a contraction beyond its optimal time, regulated by your own breathing capacity.
• This type of MC performance develops your aerobic and anaerobic capa¬city to its maximum without strain. The isolating nature of the controls avoid any kind of dangerous blood overpressure. Besides, this is the most natural form of optimizing your oxygen consumption.
• SECM develops higher levels of muscle relax, thanks to the optimization of the O2/CO2 ratio and the very precise synchronization of your muscle ef¬fort with your energy generation. This fine tune of your body energy re¬sources develops progressively a sense of internal awareness and well being. In this form you can relax your muscles almost immediately by means of your breathing patterns in every situation. This is the first step in the training of some internal controls, like MC of the heart.
• SECM enhances very effectively some noticeable health parameters, like blood pressure, heart rate and the times of the breathing tests. As a com¬parison, the measure of these parameters immediately after a 5 normal breathing MC session (complete body) was: BP(129/88), P(78), ET (12 seconds) , however, these same measures performed after the same workout by means of SECM give: BP(105/68), P(67) and ET(25 seconds). The benefits for your health produced by this method are unquestionable and almost amazing.
You can perform several repetitions of the same exercise with this technique to enhance its effects. About 5 repetitions without rest can be considered a very good reference. The SECM isolations used during several consecutive breath¬ings are extremely well suited to develop increasing levels of concentration, muscle awareness and proper relax of the surrounding muscles.
5.2.2. High precision tension gauge by means of just under vibrating threshold contraction (VTC)
This technique allows you a way to measure the subjective tension feeling very accurately, providing you a way to perform "progressive resistance" train¬ing with MC.
Perform a muscle isolation with fine tune of the contraction and increase the tension until you feel the first signs of vibration. In this moment, reduce a little the contraction trying to keep the same level of tension. Practice some times until you achieve a clear sensation of the shaking threshold.
You can use an oscillating sequence of contractions between vibrating and no vibrating phases to feel better the difference.
In order to understand well the importance of developing maximal contraction without shaking, make the following experiment. Contract progressively your bi-ceps while you are touching your triceps. Allow your biceps vibrate and note how your triceps contracts also forcibly. Reduce now the tension just under the vibrating threshold. Although your biceps should maintain similar levels of ten¬sion, your triceps will relax remarkably.
5.2.3. Over shaking extreme muscle contraction (OSMC)
This is the quickest and a very powerful MC technique to produce muscle de¬velopment, but I must advise that it is a very advanced technique that should be used only after you have achieved a perfect mastery of all controls.
This technique can be dangerous in untrained individuals due to:
• It can produce terribly painful crampings. OSMC must be practised always with fine tune of muscle contraction, increasing the tension slowly and after a previous warm up of each muscle by means of analytic muscle controls performed with precise gauge of the just under vibrating threshold.
• It can be demanding to the nervous system. The contractions must be short and definite (no more than 10 s), ideally performed with synchron¬ized contraction-exhalation method without any strain.
• OSMC is not always possible and depends a lot in our level of pure volun¬tary MC, the contracted muscle, its position and angle, the compensating antagonistic counter forces, even the hour of exercising throughout the day and our mental state.
The foundations of the OSMC technique are the empirical fact that you can minimize the muscle shaking if you surpass some contracting critical point in certain muscles.
After many months, even years, of daily MC practice, you can observe how your muscles are progressively more resistant to cramping (even without warm up, but I discourage such practice). The under vibrating threshold raises and the touching and feeling of contraction also changes. The muscles become more soft in relax and a lot more pliable and flexible during contraction.
This is a very important point, because many people think that a good muscle should be extremely hard and knotted. Far from truth. Precisely a good quality muscle is a muscle that can keep its pliability even during the most extreme contractions. Tromp van Diggelen mentioned this unusual quality of the Maxick- 's muscles, and he commented that they seemed like soft wet leather in touch.
When your muscles achieve such quality (Maxick wrote that about three years of MC practice is necessary to accomplish this), you can produce very definite and terribly forceful contractions in some muscles over the shaking point.
The key is to increase the tension very slowly until you achieve the shaking point of the muscle, now try to do a definite mental effort to "control the shak¬ing" while you increase very slowly the contraction level even more. Suddenly you will discover a critical point in which you can sustain an extreme contraction without almost any shaking. Concentrate and visualize exclusively the worked muscle, inducing so a maximal relaxation of the surroundings.
As you can see, this technique is very demanding to the nervous system, be¬cause you must direct a lot of nervous energy to the contracted muscle and to do a very exhausting effort to control the shaking, so that it must be used with care.
You can experiment that the effort to control the shaking is more challenging than the extreme force required to produce the contraction itself. Don't try to force such high tension more than the time of a relaxed exhalation.
I insist in the need to perform this technique with care, but having said that, I must confess that the rational use of OSMC + SECM is the most powerful and result producing MC technique in terms of muscular development.
The ability to control the shaking of an isolated muscle during maximal con¬tractions represents perhaps the ultimate skill of MC performance and it is con¬sidered a clear proof of the achievement of the highest standards of muscular quality. Such ability is even rewarded in gymnastics, specially in the perform¬ance of extreme poses in the rings.
5.3. Progressive relaxation techniques
5.3.1. Beginner's technique (isomeric induced relaxation against the bed)
This is a very easy method, very suitable to beginners and people that do not want to learn MC. Although it is a simple method it produces remarkable res¬ults, even amazing for many people at first.
Lie comfortably face down on a soft surface, preferably a firm bed, with arms and legs stretched. In this position perform the following contractions pressing gently the indicated body part against the bed and holding the tension during 5 slow breathings.
Now, turn your body to lie face up and do the following contractions pressing against the bed in the same way.
Finally, relax all your muscles and try to breathe as slowly as you comfortably can.
5.3.2. Post MC induced relaxation
This is a far more advanced and much better relaxing technique. It uses two combined effects to reinforce the level of relaxation: voluntary MC relaxation (muscle isolation) and post contraction antagonistic induced relaxation (when you contract an agonistic muscle, the antagonistic one relax after the effort).
Perform a complete MC workout for the principal muscles of the body. After this you should be able to relax all your muscles almost to the point that you cannot stand erect.
5.3.3. Thermal induced relaxation
one of the best natural methods to achieve good relaxing and self massa¬ging results is the alternating use of warm and cold water, especially in the form of shower.
The use of thermal massage also have effects over the mass development and the increase of definition of the muscles. As a guide, warm water helps to develop mass and volume, cold water, however, increase muscle definition.
It is always convenient to take a shower after a hard workout, but you should wait until your body has recovered normal breathing and temperature to avoid any chance of shock. If you do not want to take a full shower, rub your whole body with a wet cold towel and dry yourself briskly.
To relax your body, keeping full of pep, take a moderately long warm shower sprinkling all the body generously from the extremities to the heart. The head must be made wet with very moderate warm water (body temperature), never use excessively hot or cold water for the head, because it could produce a very dangerous shock and it is unhealthy.
Immediately after you are satisfied with your warm shower, sprinkle your body quickly (but generously) with cold (not ice cold) water during about 30 seconds. It is very important to begin the cold shower from the heart to the ex¬tremities to avoid the risk of a shock.
You can alternate also the warm and cold sprinkling in periods of 30 seconds or 1 minute several times (5-10 will be enough in general). Very important, al¬ways finish with the cold shower, never with the warm one, because the cold water helps to contract the muscles, conserving their energy and improving cir¬culation, so that, although the first sensation could be a little unpleasant for un¬trained people, the relaxing effect derived from the involuntary contraction in¬duced by cold water compensates largely the initial feeling.
Immediately after the last cold sprinkling, rub briskly, but carefully, all your body in a self massage fashion, from the extremities to the heart. Remember al¬ways that every massage must promote circulation from the muscle towards the heart.
Dress yourself quickly. Never allow yourself to get cold. Exercise always in warm places, but never skip a good daily walk in the open air.
5.3.4. SMCB induced relaxation
Mental stress induces cardiovascular stress. The artificial increasing of heart¬beats and oxygen intake without any compensating energy expenditure are the cause of many modern health problems.
SMCB helps to relief, even to eliminate, such problems, returning the body to its optimum state of equilibrium. The performance of slow breathing increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the body. The relaxing effects of carbon dioxide are very profound and related with very complex biochemical reactions, for ex¬ample, the maintenance of a correct blood pH .
Besides, slow breathing forces the diaphragm and thorax muscles to keep a controlled contraction during inhalation and a relaxed exhalation. The biofeed- back that relaxed exhalation produces over the mind is very remarkable. The signals of completely relaxed breathing advises the mind that there is no need for worry or anxiety. If you can breathe slowly and relaxed, obviously your mind must interpret that you are not in a threat.
Training your body, you also train your mind. This is the very essence of Muscle Control, a endless beneficial feedback between mind and matter.
5.3.5. Voluntary relaxation techniques (VRT)
Although from a physiological point of view it is possible that all kinds of re¬laxation form a continuous of progressively deeper states, it is convenient for learning to sort the relaxing techniques in two types:
• Increasing awareness relaxing techniques. These techniques allow you to redistribute your body energy from muscles to the mind, increasing so its pure mental powers. The use of the enhanced mental powers can be dir¬ected towards intellectual activities, better internal or external body sens¬ing or to the exploration of deeper (or higher) states of conciousness.
• Nervous system relaxing techniques. The purpose of these techniques is the opposite, mainly to reduce the levels of stress of the nervous system and to allow the mind to "cut off" from the surrounding reality. This ability can be used also to relief fatigue, pain and insomnia.
In this section I am going to describe the nervous relaxing techniques. It is necessary to master the MC induced relaxation and SMCB relaxing techniques before attempting to learn the following method.
Lie comfortably on a firm bed in a warm (but not hot) and quiet room. Some kinds of music could help in first stages, but I recommend not to use them, be¬cause you could relate involuntarily the relaxing effects with the hearing of such music and such mental association would defeat the purpose and independ¬ence of the method.
Lie face up and put your hands interlaced and relaxed over your chest or best, extended without touching themselves mutually, over the abdomen very near the navel.
Begin to control your breathing, making it slower progressively, without any forcing or haste, because such attitude would defeat your achievements.
At some moment, generally when your breathing pace is under 10 breaths/min (about 5-10 min from beginning), you should notice a clear flow of energy in form of intense heat throughout your extremities, specially in the hands, touching palms with the abdomen. This heat, although can be subject¬ively very intense in some states, should be pleasant.
After you are conscious of this energy flow, you will feel your body as a kind of circuit whose point of junction is precisely the navel. Throughout the region around the navel the heat flow introduces from the fingers to the internal organs completing the cycle.
This natural flow of energy to the internal organs is very healthy and contrib¬utes to improve the circulation and to relax to involuntary muscle layers of such organs.
At this moment your SMCB should be almost instinctive and very slow (per¬haps under 5 breaths/min). You should notice also how your awareness and senses begin to change. Generally you will have your eyes closed, but if you keep them open, you would observe a kind of "strange" visual transparency, al¬terations in the colours, image blurring or something similar. A similar sensation happens with sound, it seems to be more deep, diffuse, even oscillating in ap¬parent synchrony with your heartbeats or breathing.
Keep your mind relaxed and focused in breathing. Now you should feel your muscles so relaxed that you would be unable to move them even with a lot of effort (of course, don't try to move yourself in this phase). The muscles in this state are extraordinarily soft, promoting so a better circulation throughout the whole body and an improved oxygenation.
The purpose of this relaxation technique is to train the body to eliminate all kind of stresses allowing it to achieve its lowest energy state. In this way, the body and the mind can recover their natural equilibrium.
once you have achieved the relaxed state, you can use or modify it with dif¬ferent purposes, for example, to rest, to sleep better or to explore some new conscious states.
If you refuse to sleep, you will feel yourself like a baby inside a warm slow flow of water, very similar to a conscious return to your foetal original sensa¬tions.
5.4. Body energy transference techniques
5.4.1. Sequential contraction
one of the main purposes of MC is to enhance the circulation, but this im¬provement is a feedback effect due to the overpressure over the blood vessels produced by MC induced intramuscular tension. So it is important to keep the tension level under the shaking point of the muscle if we want a good blood ex¬change.
one of the best ways to direct the blood flow and energy to a muscle is to contract in a row all muscles that precede the desired one from the heart to such muscle.
For example, if we want to concentrate our energy in the fingertips, we should contract first the pectorals, shoulders, triceps, biceps, forearm muscles, hand muscles and finally the finger muscles in a definite and continuous se¬quence.
There are two methods, which can be combined, to accomplish this goal:
1. Soft continuous contraction (SCC).
2. Pulsating muscle control (PMC).
When soft continuous contraction is used, the muscles are kept contracted for 10 or more breathings with a low tension level (typically 30-50%). To adjust the tension level do this, contract the desired muscle very slowly just under the first signs of shaking appear and now reduce slowly the tension to the point you can feel the muscle warm, but pliable, not rigid. Breathe very slowly and softly, trying to focus all you body heat in the contracted muscle.
The pulsating muscle control (PMC) method is a variant of the ballistic muscle control (BMC) technique. In PMC we perform very quick (1 second or less), very controlled and soft contracting pulsations of the muscle that we want to feed. The pulsations are done with normal breathing (several pulsations per breathing cycle). Generally, pulsating times of about 10 breathings (30-60 seconds) are enough.
You can use soft continuous contraction of all the preceding muscles and PMC of the desired muscle for achieving an improved effect. Other combina¬tions like a cyclic SCC + PMC for the same muscle are possible and very healthy.
These techniques can be used also very effectively for pre-relaxing certain stressed muscles, for rehabilitation, extremely safe warm up and soft pain relief.
220.127.116.11. Muscle controlled self massage
In this case, the sequence of contractions must be performed from the ex¬tremities to the heart, the same as any other massage technique. In this way you can obtain a perfect voluntary muscle massage and lymphatic drain.
In order to accomplish this purpose, you can use both SCC or PMC tech¬niques. After any muscle controlled self massage session, if properly per¬formed, you should feel absolutely relaxed and full of energy.
18.104.22.168. Cyclic raising-lowering complete body control
The key to a perfect circulation and mobilization of the internal fluids is to per¬form a two phase complete body MC session. In the first phase you begin to isolate the muscles from toes to head and in the second one, immediately done after the first, you control all your muscles from head to toes.
The best technique to perform this cyclic control is the synchronized exhala¬tion-contraction method or SCC, but you can use any other MC advanced tech¬nique instead if you want to develop strength or muscle mass also. This is the method I suggest for every advanced Maxalding student. The only shortcoming of this method is the large amount of time it deserves (more than 2 hours), if performed with 5 or more breathings per muscle to increase strength and muscle mass, due to the high number of different possible muscle isolations and poses (more than 100). So, in practice, the workouts may be splitted throughout the day for each body part in the following order:
1. Head, neck, shoulders and back.
2. Thorax, chest and abdomen.
3. Arms, hands, fingers.
In order to promote only a better circulation and muscle toning, it is sufficient to perform 5 short PMC contractions (during 1 breathing) or 1 SECM isolation per muscle. In this way you can perform a complete body workout in less than 30 min.
22.214.171.124. Assisted circulation
Sometimes it is very difficult or impossible (due to an injury or atrophy) to control directly a muscle in order to apply some of the techniques outlined be¬fore. In this case we can promote a better circulation to the injured area pump¬ing the blood flow to the surrounding muscles while the desired muscle is per¬fectly relaxed. This allows a permeated flow of blood to the injured muscle without any contraction. This effect can be increased by means of several tech¬niques, including SCC and PMC of the surrounding muscles.
I suggest here a very effective technique, that must be used very progress¬ively in order to avoid any painful parasitic contraction of the injured muscle. We can divide this technique in three phases:
1. SCC sequential contraction of all surrounding muscles in a cyclic way in order to direct the blood flow to the injured muscle and in order to produce a soft antagonistic induced relaxation of the same muscle.
2. Extremely soft and simultaneous PMC of the surrounding muscles during about 5 breathings.
3. One BMC of the surrounding muscles during 2-3 seconds (1 quick exhala¬tion). The purpose of the "hard" ballistic contraction of the surrounding muscles is to inhibit the return of the blood flow (isometric torniquet effect) from the injured muscle to improve its temperature and feeding. But this blood constraint must be short because a longer contraction would pro-duce a quick energy and oxygen depletion inside the surrounding muscles, defeating our initial purpose. Besides, such sort contraction times allow a good control of the shaking. The only problem with this phase is the risk of a painful co-contraction (or antagonistic action) of the injured muscle. If you are not sure of controlling perfectly the BMC keep¬ing the injured muscle relaxed, don't perform this last step or substitute it with a new soft SCC. The results are very good in any case.
5.4.2. Focused relaxation
The focused contraction techniques can be used also to induce a very deep localized relaxation of an isolated muscle. The best way to properly improve the relaxing ability of a muscle is a cyclic combination of SCC + hard BMC.
Perform a soft and very definite isolated control of the desired muscle during 10 slow controlled breathings. Without rest, do a hard (without strain) BMC con¬traction of the same muscle. You should observe that the hard BMC tend to in¬volve a considerable amount of antagonistic action to keep the contracting muscle in its position (remember that such sudden tension should produce a muscle shortening and joint motion in stretched positions). Repeat the SCC contraction without rest and eliminate the tension as slowly as you can, trying to feel the least muscle residual contraction until the end. With some practice you should be able to relax the same muscle voluntarily without the need of any previous contraction.
This is an enhancing mind-muscle link learning technique that will allow you to achieve deeper localized levels of relaxation. Focused relaxation must be used in combination with strong visualization of the energy flow throughout the body for best results.
The last and most important application of focused relaxation is focused men¬tal relaxation by means of biofeedback from all the muscles in the body and ex¬treme will power visualization from and to the mind. The final result is the ability to direct the largest possible amount of energy to perform a definite task.
5.5. Multiple and combined controls
5.5.1. Maxick's full contraction test
This test is very simple, but it is an excellent indicator of the level of coordin¬ated voluntary contraction you have. Try to contract all body muscles (except the muscles of the face if you prefer) simultaneously or in a sequence, keeping the contraction of all of them for a complete exhalation. Do not allow your muscles shake and do not force yourself.
The muscles that are more poorly contracted are those which need a more careful and dedicated training.
5.5.2. Static poses
The purpose of static poses is a better visualization of the muscles of the body, aiming beauty and symmetry. Unfortunately, many people think that MC reduces to this. Static poses should not be confused with MC isolations, be¬cause its purpose is the coordinate contraction of several muscle groups.
The possible combinations of muscle groups in order to produce a static pose are almost endless. I suggest the coordinate contraction of large muscle groups (the "muscle armor") or the simultaneous performance of very difficult voluntary isolations (for example, a simultaneous abdominal central isolation and pectoral contraction with stretched arms in a crucifix pose).
5.5.3. Posture reinforcement and virtual training
This technique allows you to reinforce specific muscles in the positions that you must hold in certain exercises. This technique was profusely used by al¬most all old strongmen, because it permits the development of extreme levels of strength without the risks involved in heavy weights. Generally dumbbells of about 10 kg weight were used to feel the necessary muscles. The key is to feel the contraction of exactly the muscles you need to perform some exercise or strength test and to mentally increase the contraction to the desired extent over the worked muscles, relaxing the others (to keep energy and avoiding muscle interferences).
5.5.4. Muscle dancing
This is probably the most funny and spectacular form of MC, although it is not intended for muscle or strength development.
The best technique to learn muscle dancing is PMC after a solid SMC (static) foundation. Using PMC the muscles are almost automatically ready for quick contractions while you can easily keep the surrounding muscles relaxed.
5.6. Dynamic muscle control
Dynamic muscle control (DMC) is usually confused with "visualized resist¬ance" methods in which antagonistic braking tension is used. Certainly is very difficult to perform an isolated moving muscle control, especially in stretched positions (where antagonistic tension is necessary to keep the muscle position fixed without motion in SMC).
old time strongmen used to lift relatively light weights or to perform body- weight exercises (even gymnastics and hand balancing) to train the muscles in motion. Maxalding is not an exception to this rule, but remember, as Maxick stated, that all external resistance exercises in motion are only mere means to train the body in specific skills, the real strength developer must be the internal contraction generated by mental concentration during the movement.
The key to learn proper DMC is to do an external resistance exercise (for ex¬ample, some push ups) trying to keep all muscles as relaxed as possible, so re¬laxed that the actual performance of the exercise would be difficult. Study care¬fully the precise muscles you need to contract to produce the desired move¬ment.
Rest a pair of minutes and repeat the same exercise, but now try to contract voluntarily and powerfully (without strain or shaking) the involved muscles, keeping the rest relaxed as previously.
With a lot of practice you will be able to reproduce the same level of contrac¬tion and relaxation without the need of an external resistance feeling, although some level of bodyweight resistance from time to time is good to keep equilibri¬um, balance and bone reinforcement.
5.7. Aerobic muscle control
Certainly you can achieve aerobic levels of muscle work with MC, especially if DMC is used. Here you have some suggestions to perform safe and product¬ive AMC (aerobic muscle control).
1. If you use SMC, do long contractions (over the 30 breathings each) on large muscle groups (upper body, legs, even the entire body), but never surpass the 30-50% effort level, because such long contraction with high¬er tensions would produce a lot of nervous drain. A very good pose for practising AMC is the position you would sustain in a pull up hold in the middle position.
2. You can perform also a large number (50-100) of PMC pulses with every muscle of certain areas of the body. This technique is most suitable for
arms and legs, because the core muscles have in general a slower re¬sponse (they work better with definite hard BMC).
3. The best technique to achieve quickly and aerobic effect is obviously DMC, especially muscle controlled exercises like "walking in place", de¬scribed and illustrated in the previous article.
5.8. Increasing ballistic muscle control
This technique is based in a pure MC performance of the bodyweight exer¬cises in little steps throughout the entire range of motion, but without external resistance.
You must adopt the position corresponding to one exercise and then you perform the MC of all muscles implied in such exercise from the most contrac¬ted position to its most stretched one. The contraction must be done ballistically (contraction during one explosive expiration and relax during the inspiration) and continuously along the complete range of motion every 2 or 3 cm interval.
This technique is complementary to the DMC of the same muscle groups and they should be combined in a cyclic or ladder form for improved results.
5.9. Combined bodyweight exercises
There are a lot of excellent literature about bodyweight exercises, so that I am not going to do here a detailed description of such subject. I want only to suggest the performance of certain very effective combined exercises which do not demand any dangerous leverage position, but they permit a fairly good pro¬gression and strength development.
The key exercise of these combinations will be the front bridge (exercise PP of Maxalding). The front bridge is one of the most complete exercises, because it involves almost every muscle in the body and demands a great amount of strength and control .
Here you have some examples:
• The Saldo burpee. This exercise works all the body very effectively and produces a remarkable aerobic and anaerobic enhancement in a short time. The progression should be careful to avoid any strain, especially in
the back muscles. Inhale in the raising actions and exhale in the descend¬ing ones. The Saldo burpee has the following phases (all positions should be performed with MC contraction):
1. Toe raising.
2. Descending squat.
3. Stretch the legs backwards as far as your body achieve a push up pos¬ture.
4. Perform 1 push up.
5. Slide your feet as far as you can (be careful) to the point your body is almost parallel to the floor (exercise PP).
6. Return to a push up posture and do 1 push up.
7. Open your arms very slowly to both sides as far as you achieve a cruci¬fix position (descending motion of exercise ZZ, but don't slide, it can be dangerous if you lose control, your fingers should point to the sides per-pendicularly to the trunk line).
8. Raise your body explosively (but without any straining) to a push up po¬sition (exercise ZZ).
9. Perform one more push up.
10. Contract your legs forward to achieve the lower posture of a squat.
11. Do a raising squat.
12. End with a new toe raising.
13. Repeat ad lib., although more than 5 repetitions are not necessary for developing great strength and balance.
• The Strongmax bridge. This exercise is far safer and more effective than the classical wrestler's bridge. It combines in a cyclic form the Maxalding half bridge (exercise AA) with the Strongfort bridge. The sensation would be similar to floating over a wave. Do this exercise always over a soft sur¬face like a firm bed and as slowly as you can. Performance steps:
1. Do the raising phase of the half bridge (inhale). Your arms should point backwards.
2. Lower your body stretching all your muscles (exhale). Your arms should rest over your hips.
3. Raise your body resting only on your shoulders and heels (inhale).
4. Lower your body contracting especially the back muscles (exhale).
5. Repeat ad lib.
• Floor virtual swimming. This exercise can be very demanding on some up¬per body joints if excessively done, so don't overdo it. In fact, floor virtual swimming is the best replacement of pull ups (without the risks of hand¬stand push ups) I have found without any appliance within the Maxalding philosophy.
1. The first movements of virtual swimming are the same as the Saldo Burpee, but once you have achieve the first push up position, go dir¬ectly to a front bridge position without a previous push up motion.
2. Now, go directly from the lowest position of the front bridge (PP) to the lowest position of the front crucifix (ZZ) slowly in little steps opening progressively and circularly your arms to both sides. This is the hardest part of the exercise.
3. Perform the ZZ exercise explosively (but carefully) to return to a push up position.
4. Repeat the sequence doing new cyclic front bridge + front crucifix movements. A very few repetitions of this exercise are usually neces¬sary, because it is very complete and demanding.
• Floor pull ups. An alternative way to work the upper body trying to simu¬late a pulling action without apparatus is the floor pull up, based again in the extremely useful front bridge (PP). Perform a front bridge but in this case you should allow a little higher distance from the floor (about 30 cm) in order to be able to do a definite forward pulling action. In this exercise, contrary to the previous ones, you should not allow your body to raise to a upper push up position, but you must keep constant the 30 cm distance from the floor, this is the key of the remarkable resistance you can pro¬duce, even greater than in a normal pull up raise. Return to the front bridge position and repeat ad lib., but don't overdo it. You can vary the amount of tension in different areas of the upper body varying the aperture angle of the arms. The hands should be firmly secured on the floor, but the feet must be able to slip over the surface to perform correctly this ex¬ercise. The floor pull up can also simulate the movement involved in the "tiger bend" (FLB exercise of Maxalding) very powerfully, but horizontally instead of vertically.
• The Saldo squat. Monte Saldo observed that the legs of russian dancers exhibited an incredible development and strength. He attributed such de¬velopment to the quick sequence of one leg squat movements involved in russian dances. Unfortunately, one leg squat is an exercise that depends a lot on the leverage properties of the individual. Extremely strong people are unable to accomplish this feat due to a lack of the correct bone and joint body ratio. The Saldo squat is a variation of the Maxalding squat that allows one leg motions, but with constant support of the other leg to keep leverage. However, the additional support is carefully designed to allow a powerful one leg action, so, if properly done, this exercise can be almost as effective as the one leg squat.
1. Do a tilted Maxalding squat (exercise X), but with the other leg stretched to its side, so that in the lowest position, one leg is fully flexed and the other is fully stretched to the opposite side.
2. Try to move your stretched leg, without flexing it, to the front with a cir¬cular movement, keeping the other leg flexed and fixed in its lowest posture.
3. Now, raise your body with the effort of the flexed leg, keeping the heel of the stretched leg (don't flex it along the entire exercise performance) in touch with the floor.
4. Interchange both legs and repeat ad lib.
5. This exercise can be very difficult if you lower you body as much you can. If you experience some knee problems, you can lower your body only to the point you notice the most intense quadriceps contraction.
Combining these exercises you can achieve very brief, intense and effective workouts that hit practically every muscle in the body.
5.10. Muscle control competitions
5.10.1. Static MC
The purpose of MC competitions is to encourage the performance of new and more challenging isolations, to promote a healthy way of life and to develop the Maxalding philosophy of body-mind reinforcement, interchanging freely our limited knowledge. Maxalding competitions should not considered by any means a way to show superiority to other Maxalding students. Every Maxaldist is in continuous development, because the achievement of a perfect mental and body control is impossible in this life. Remember always this, there are not
Muscle Control masters, only more or less advanced students , because who consider themselves Maxalding masters, have failed miserably in the most im¬portant MC premise, the endless search of perfection.
The SMC stage of a Maxalding competition should focus in the following points:
• Effective isolation of the desired muscle.
• Pure mental control of the muscle (lack of supporting action, like hand pressure, etc.).
• Performance of the control in difficult positions (rotated and stretched joint postures).
• Degree of contraction without muscle shaking.
• Relaxation of the surrounding muscles.
• Antagonistic inhibition.
• Muscle definition.
• Ability to isolate the tendon action pulled from the controlled muscle.
5.10.2. Ballistic MC
BMC should focus in the following aspects:
• Effective isolation of the pulsing muscle.
• Speed of performance.
• Degree of contraction without antagonistic response.
• Relaxation of the surrounding muscles.
5.10.3. Dynamic MC
DMC performance should be judged with this conditions in mind:
• Homogeneous control of the desired muscle or muscle group along its en¬tire range of motion.
• Lack of muscle shaking.
• Inhibition of any interference effects from the surrounding muscles.
• Correct performance with varying degrees of tension and speed of motion.
5.10.4. Combined controls
Combined controls should help to the coordinated development of different, not antagonistic, muscle groups and to produce beautiful and harmonic poses of natural and healthy muscles.
5.10.5. Muscle dancing
The performance of muscle dancing ranges from simple coordinated PMC (pulsating muscle control) exercises to real synchronized muscle pulsations with music.
Perhaps, muscle dancing could be studied and progressively developed throughout a careful sequence of specially designed exercises, like gymnastics or classical dance. Unfortunately, my skills in this regard are so negligible that I am not qualified at all to progress further in this interesting subject. However, I think that a serious muscle dancing exercise design would be of great benefit to the body-mind coordination development of children.
5.10.6. Combined competition
This should involve a combination of the most prominent control skills of SMC, BMC, DMC and PMC in a unified way.
5.11. Internal muscle control
5.11.1. Heart control
This is one of the most important and hardest pure mental control one may try. It is documented that Maxick developed this ability and used it until the very end to predict its own death with amazing precision.
Obviously a pure mental control of the heart is limited (fortunately!) by the fact that the pulse is regulated by automatic and involuntary processes. Gener¬ally, the main use of heart control is complete relaxation in combination with the other, previously studied, relaxing techniques, although some "accelerating methods" can be useful in certain situations.
The first step in the performance of heart control is the mastery of heart in¬duced relaxation by means of SCMB and post MC induced relaxation plus thermal induced relaxation.
In first stages it is very convenient to rest comfortably on the bed with perfect silence to achieve a correct temperature (warm but not hot) and self breathing and pulse conciousness.
We can achieve progressively higher levels of heart relaxation in this se¬quence:
1. Interlace your fingers over your chest and rest your hands softly over the heart area. This will allow a slight temperature raise in this area which will produce a thermal induced relaxation.
2. Begin a sequence of increasing longer, but completely relaxed, SMCB.
3. When your feel that you have achieved a reasonable level of relaxation and your pulse begin to drop, perform 1 perfect MVB and follow with SMCB until you recover the previous relaxing state. The MVB produces an internal (but safe) overpressure that demands a heart overwork, like an indirect MC heart contraction. In this way we are able to produce a sub¬sequent post MC induced relaxation of the cardiac muscle.
4. Repeat (3) until you feel that your need of oxygen decreases and you are more conscious of your pulse beats.
5. Forget to focus on your breathing pace and focus in the pulse rate. Visual¬ize your heart and how the energy should flow to it, concentrate your mind in the heat you should notice in your hands and fingers and how it flows inside the body through the heart, relaxing it.
6. Imagine your heart muscle and try to feel it as you feel any other con¬trolled muscle. Now, apply the same relaxation effort to it. Believe it or not, with practice and proper concentration, it works! The heart reduces its pulse and begins to be responsive to our mental orders within the safety margin demanded by our involuntary mechanisms. I have been able to achieve statistically significant reductions of 10 or more beats per minute with regards to my rest pulse with these techniques.
7. In extreme advanced phases of heart control, some individuals, like exper¬ienced yogis and some free divers, can reduce amazingly their metabolic, breathing and pulsing rates.
8. After you master the resting control method you can adapt it to any other situation, focusing your mind first in reducing your breathing rate and af¬terwards your pulse. Even, with a lot of practice, you can achieve a reas¬onable direct control of the heart by visualization means without the previ¬ous SMCB phase.
There are some safe pulse accelerating techniques in case you need to per¬form some sudden effort from a relaxed state. These techniques are convenient to adapt the body systems to achieve a quick peak performance. In extreme situations, you should focus all your energy resources in the muscles that have to accomplish the task while you try to achieve a good visualization of your in-ternal state to keep a good balance between relaxation and awareness. In fact, the body usually cares itself of properly accelerating the heart in stressing situ¬ations, so the problem is to relax it in order to keep energy and mental focus. But, you have here some ways to pre-accelerate the heart.
• Perform several MVB in a row without rest, but keep good breathing form, don't allow any suffocation sign.
• Do a quick sequence of PMC of large muscle groups, ideally the whole body, and end it with a powerful full ballistic MC contraction.
• Contract softly every body muscle from head to toes simultaneously dur¬ing about 10 breathings and then do 5 powerful BMC full body contrac¬tions without rest.
5.11.2. Control of the digestive organs
The control of the digestive organs is achieved by means of proper self mas¬sage of the intestines by means of MC of the abdominal wall. In this way we can mobilize the internal fluids and improve the digestive functions.
We can distinguish several levels of digestive control:
1. Beginner: Drink a (not large) glass of warm water and perform a sequence of 5 abdominal vacuums with proper breathing between each of them. Rest during 20-30 normal breathings and drink now a glass of cold (not ice cold) water and repeat the same vacuum action.
2. Intermediate: Drink a glass of warm water and perform a sequence of con¬secutive lateral isolations from side to side (left - central - right) in both directions. Rest during 20-30 breathings and repeat after drinking a little
glass of cold water.
3. Advanced: Drink a glass of warm water and perform a sequence of pure voluntary controls of each isolated section of the rectus abdominis from top to bottom and from side to side and in reverse order. Rest and repeat the same operation after drinking a glass of cold water.
5.11.3. Maxalding internal cleansing techniques
In his book MAXALDING, Monte Saldo suggested the possibility of using MC as a very effective internal cleansing method. This ability is based in a combination of proper oxygenation by means of full tidal SMCB, improved circulation and in¬ternal fluid mobilization by means of digestive control and additional pure water supply. These techniques are convenient to general health improvement and, especially, in cases of slight contamination due to poor quality food or drink, smoke, ...
In beginner and intermediate stages it will be sufficient to perform some di¬gestive control and to drink regularly a glass of cold water at least every 1/2 hour.
In more advanced phases you should perform cyclic digestive controls every 30 min with additional water drinking (with care and without strain) and PMC of the isolated sections of the abdominal wall. Finish always with a central abdom¬inal downwards MC control sequence in order to eliminate the waste products. The abdominal MC controls should be done with SMCB to improve body oxy-genation, so if you need to hold your breath to keep the vacuum, don't try this advanced method.
In any case, try to flush your internal systems by means of soft thermal shocks (warm and cold), finishing always with the cold one, while you relax your muscles and focus your breathing, energy and mental visualization in the recov¬er of your internal balance and in the production of new healthy tissue.
5.11.4. Control of some internal functions
The final aim of internal control would be the regulation of our own metabol¬ism. Though this could sound like science-fiction stuff29, in fact, the simple vol-untary regulation of our breathing (by means of SMCB, for example) produces a series of chemical effects, that, indirectly at first and more directly after years of patient practice, can be used to regulate our own internal functions to some ex¬tent.
The most simple mechanism of metabolic regulation is by means of the con¬trol of the amount of CO2 in our blood. A greater proportion of carbon dioxide in¬duces relaxation and changes the blood pH with some deep effects over other body functions. The amount of carbon dioxide can be increased by means of careful CBH use, as explained before.
Besides, analytical ultra precise MC techniques could be used to press some internal lymphatic vessels and even endocrine glands to enhance or induce their secretion, acting so voluntarily over the hormonal balance of the body. Ul¬tra precise MC could be studied also as a means of self induced acupuncture.
Unfortunately, these extremely interesting points are very poorly studied. Per¬haps, I will be able in a future to explore them in further detail.
5.11.5. Mental reinforcement induced by muscle control awareness
MC develops to the extreme the mind-body connection by means of a biofeedback process that reinforces the mental strength as much the muscular one.
Besides, the relaxing abilities involved in the learning of MC permit a wiser use of our own energetic resources. We can use the energy saved by means of relaxation to improve our mental awareness in both daily and critical situations. In this sense, proper visualization and concentration are fundamental.
Here are some suggestions to improve our mental performance by means of MC practice.
• Practise MC using the oscillating contraction and concentration technique (or oscillating muscle control, OMC, for brevity). This is a very mental pro-ductive mean between the SMC and BMC methods. Isolate a muscle very slowly, feeling how the increasing tension demands more mental energy. Try to tune your contraction very precisely by pure mental awareness only while you are inhaling (use synchronized SMCB). Raise your tension level above the shaking point (apply the OSMC technique) and stabilize the contraction just at the beginning of the exhalation. Exhale very slowly, de¬creasing the tension in the same amount, but don't eliminate it completely, try to distinguish the lowest level of contraction you can achieve without
relax. Repeat 3-5 times without rest. This method can be very neural de¬manding, use it carefully.
• Use precise focused relaxation (PFR) to develop the mind-body link from the other perspective. Perform a slow full body contraction and try to relax only one muscle while you keep the other contracted. This is a very diffi¬cult technique.
• Combined MC, sequential contraction and muscle dancing can be used very effectively to develop coordination skills.
• Quite amazingly, the mind acts like a "muscle" whose function is to think (among other very important things) and can be developed applying ana¬logous techniques. So you can (and should) use Mind Control the same as MC (fortunately, both terms have the same initials). Visualize all your senses, thoughts and feelings and apply reflective control over all of them. Train your own thoughts the same as you contract your muscles. Use an energy loop for this, imagine that you have to "contract" (force or work) your own mind, redirect your neural energy to your upper cerebral func-tions. Analyse all your involuntary actions (breathing, pulse, digestion, sleep, pleasures, pains, ...) and study how they affect your deepest being. Be confident in yourself and try to make them voluntary. Maxick men-tioned how he achieved such control level by means of the devoted prac¬tice of MC.
126.96.36.199. Internal sensing
Internal sensing is best developed in deep relaxation states. I recommend the use of some of the voluntary relaxation techniques to achieve a good level of general relaxation.
Try to visualize clearly the energy flows in your body in such state and how the slightest variation can affect them. Focus your attention progressively in your breathing, your pulse, your mind (trying to liberate it from any spurious thoughts) and finally concentrate in your own self reflectiveness, exploring your deepest being. Dive into the core of your existence, discovering its limitations, but also its infinite projection, which will allow you to surpass such shortcom¬ings. This process is known as introspection.
After a successful introspection you should feel plenty of mental power and with a profound sense of peace and well being.
188.8.131.52. Enhancement of external sensing
In relaxing states you can decide to focus your concentration on the external sensations instead the internal ones. The key is to employ the neural energy usually used to contract the muscles for improving our vision, hearing ability and skin sensibility among others. In very relaxed states you do not need al¬most any contracting energy, so if you force your mind to keep itself alert, you should notice a relative improvement in your sensing abilities.
184.108.40.206. The integration of the holistic and analytic visions
The Western mentality is analytical and the Eastern one is holistic in general. Both ways of thinking are necessary and must be integrated in a complete vis¬ion of our own life.
The MC learning process is extremely analytical, because it develops higher and higher degrees of muscular isolation, almost the opposite of many usual meditation practices. This method is by far the most scientific and long term productive, but it would be useless if you are unable to combine all the isolated aspects into a unified vision of yourself and your connections with the external world. This philosophic view of exercise states a very clear difference between Maxalding and bodybuilding. Maxalding pursues the final perfect union of body and mind into a superior level of personal perfection.
5.12. Mind body connection
5.12.1. The development of Will Power
Will Power could be defined as the ability to do what must be done, instead what we want to do in a certain moment. MC tries to teach your muscles to act correctly in every situation, without interferences. Your mind should dominate your body in every moment by means of MC, the same as you should dominate always your own mind by means of Will Power.
In fact, all important things are done by means of Will Power. Even the power of our reasoning and science are based ultimately in our confidence in the intel¬ligibility of the Universe and in our belief that we can act over the world, chan¬ging it and making it a better place to life, if we want.
5.12.2. The achievement of self control
Self control is the last step in the study of Maxalding. For Maxick, self control implied the lack of any bare need except the essential feeding of the body sys¬tems, even in this regard it is known that Maxick ate less food than the average person. Self control and Will Power are intimately related, reinforcing them¬selves with each new voluntary action.
Self control is developed in the same way as MC. Try to isolate the funda¬mental aspects of each action, distinguishing the important facts from those that interfere with your main aim and avoiding any "antagonistic" desire that could be opposite to the achievement of your main aim. "Antagonistic" action is avoided by means of voluntary "mental relaxation". Every time you think that some necessary effort is unaffordable, analyse the causes, try to relax them and control the situation focusing all your energy in one definite (isolated) ac¬tion each moment. It is very remarkable that Monte Saldo finished the Second Part of his MAXALDING book with a FINAL WORD about worrying and its terrible con¬sequences.
The main aim of every maxaldist should be always perfection. Every max- aldist must be a friendly and helpful person, because the study of MC should reveal you all sort of self limitations, difficulties and shortcomings. The know¬ledge of our own weaknesses is the first step towards surpassing them, turning them with patient practice in your best allies when a difficult situation arises.
5.12.3. The self control - freedom relationship
Just before passing away, Maxick donated us a deep thought that reveals the connection between the achievement of true self control and real freedom. True freedom is concerned with the lack of any internal contradiction and the best way to develop this internal well being is self control. MC is difficult because many muscles seem to be insensitive to our orders at first. The same occurs with all our voluntary actions, a lot of times the difficulties seem to surpass our abilities and powers. In such cases we feel overwhelmed and trapped. Self con¬trol help us to isolate the effect from the cause, opening so new possibilities to solve the problem. Separating the cause from its negative effect over our mind, we will feel ourselves much more free and capable.
Life is too short to waste our time trying to struggle with our own contradic¬tions, instead of trying to make things a bit easier using our energies for per¬forming really important things.
5.12.4. The science of self control and individual spirituality
Self control is a lifelong discipline that can be developed and studied in an analytical, then scientific, way. The enhancement of our internal freedom allows a happier and richer spiritual life. Because, when self control allows a perfect coordination between mind and action, the soul - body dichotomy disappears.
Unfortunately, the influence of some biased and very restricted visions of present science tries to eliminate the extremely important spiritual aspects of the human being. This artificial separation produces two very harmful extremes.
In first place, there are people who negate the need, even the existence, of our spiritual nature in the name of "science", turning so science in a kind of modern, (falsely) verifiable "religion". This point of view is absurd and absolutely sterile for both the human perfection and the science development.
As a desperate reaction to the previous point of view, some people try to jus¬tify their beliefs turning certain difficult scientific theories in a mixture of mystical misconceptions.
I feel completely amazed (and very angry too) when I read all sort of absurd statements that pretend to use Quantum Mechanics as its last resource of validity, even in the field of Physical Culture. Most people, when they hear about "Quantum Mechanics" think immediately about some kind of esoteric knowledge, very poorly understood, which can validate any following reasoning. Fortunately, I can assure you that we know a lot about Quantum Mechanics, because it is a very good established theory with almost a century in existence. Similar things are suggested from another scientific branches, like Biochem-istry, when we must read such reductionist absurdities as that all our feelings, like love, friendship, altruism, faith, ..., are the result of mere chemical reactions.
It is a pity to see how people is easily ready to believe such pseudoscientific lies, and find so hard to face the eternal and really important questions clearly stated by the Philosophy and Religion from the beginning of our civilization.
Maxalding is unique in this regard, because it represents a clear equilibrium point in the development and self study of our mind - body - external world re-lationship. The serious maxaldist will be able to apply this hard learned balance to all aspects of his or her life, from internal freedom and spirituality to the ef¬fective realization of daily practical duties.
This book about the Principles of Maxalding and Muscle Control would not be possible without the unselfish help of a lot of good friends. First of all, I want to express my deepest gratitude to Roger Fillary, Gil Waldron and Ron Tyrrell for making the Maxalding and Sandowplus websites freely available for all of us, for their invaluable support, wise comments and endless encouragement.
The naming of all Maxalding forum members who had contributed with their invaluable ideas and comments to the writing of the book would be almost im¬possible. It is a real privilege for me to share with them our Maxalding know¬ledge and devotion.
I want also to thank my family for their understanding and a lot of funny jokes about my "strange poses" and the extreme concentration expression of my face (they thought that I was in some kind of dangerous trance at first) when I prac¬tise Muscle Control.
Finally I wish to remember here the memory of the founders of Maxalding, Maxick, Monte and Court Saldo. They deserve our eternal gratitude for re¬searching, creating and developing the deepest and most perfect Physical Cul-ture system of all times. I hope that this modest book will contribute to keep alive their marvellous discoveries with admiration for their achievements, fidelity to their ideas and respect for their model lifes.
7. The author
Juan Antonio Martinez Rojas was born in 1972 in Spain. He is graduated in Astrophysics, has a Ph.D. in Atomic and Nuclear Physics and he is professor and researcher in the subject of Optical Communications at UAH in Madrid.
He has been always very interested in every aspect of Physical Culture, es¬pecially mind-body development techniques and martial arts. He has practised heavily Kyokushin karate, bodyweight exercises, long-distance swimming, high mountain trekking and long-distance walking among other sports.
He discovered Maxalding and MC searching the web for the most perfect and scientific method of Physical Culture and since then (beginning of 2000) he has practised MC almost exclusively, trying to develop it to the limit of his own abilit¬ies. This book is the result of such experience and of the invaluable knowledge sharing with other maxaldists through the posts of the Maxalding forum.
15 This affirmation about the muscular rigidity induced by weightlifting is far deeper than it seems at first glance. It is not a mere muscle-bound reminiscence, but an explanation of the obvious fact that weight lighting cannot cover all possible joint angles and motions. In fact, weight lifting suffers from the same limitations as any other exercise. Biceps curls, for example, only work the muscle in a straight line of motion, something very rare in real situations.
18 Please, do not spend your money in expensive machines that promise improved cardio benefits. Walk normally or try the simply walking in place instead, you will be surprised with